Being an activist can be draining, but there’s no need to feel guilt for taking time to enjoy yourself.
Trying to bring change can feel non-stop. If you’re socially and politically conscious then the chances are your social media news feeds are pretty full of rolling bad news. When the world is burning, it can feel wrong for even trying to enjoy yourself.
But it is okay. It’s okay and necessary to enjoy the world. If you want to go and take some time out at home or away then that is necessary for you.
Activism is also about celebration. It’s about celebrating the good in people and giving people power to make things better. It can feel angry too, because it is. Injustice is frustrating, demeaning and outrageous. Activism on anger alone though can risk burn outs. This threat is incredibly serious. Burn outs can lead to despair that things will never change which can have a serious impact on mental health.
“Activism is also about celebration”
It’s important to see the positives. That change can come, and that at the very least through activism we’re trying to empower ourselves and others. The part about trying matters; no battle was won without people suiting up first.
Enjoy ourselves is a rebellion against all the things that try and make us feel bad and worn down, whether it’s student debt, ableism, abuse, crap jobs and low wages. So many forces are at work trying to make us feel low and just get on in life without complaint. To be loud, to protest but also to take joy in ourselves and in others is counter to all of those things that try to work against us.
It means taking time out for ourselves. It means also working to build a support network. That can be a few mates to go out on the town with, it can be with other activists with whom you connect, or it can be a friend online who you feel comfortable and safe with and so can talk about subjects that may be off-limits with others. Indulge in these relationships. Revel in doing whatever the hell you want.
Self-love, self-worth, finding whatever way to get through the doom and gloom of austerity is itself an act of protest. In 2018, go to more activist events, commit to a cause, do more to bring change but you don’t have to do so at the expense of your own happiness. Make balance a priority. Allow yourself to be happy. It’s the best way to fuck the system really.
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