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A Guide to Dealing with Activism Burnout

{By Hannah Nguyen}


Over the past few months, many of us have engaged in our own version of activism, whether it’s through sharing infographics on social media or participating in protests. With increased political participation among members of Gen-Z, it can indubitably take a toll on our mental health.


Activism can be rewarding, especially when you’re able to recognize the positive impacts that you contribute to, but it could also lead to a burnout. By putting in long hours of consuming what seems like only negative news and fighting endlessly for your rights and the rights of others, you can feel constantly stressed and emotionally drained.


[Image of fingers on phone screen]


Here are 5 ways to help balance activism and your mental health:


  1. Take a social media detox


For the most part, social media can be a helpful way for people to catch up on what’s going on around the world and quickly spread awareness about a certain topic. However, spending hours upon hours scrolling through your feed can make you feel overwhelmed. 


It’s okay to take a step back from social media. It’s okay to not know everything all at once. It’s okay to take the time to take things in. 


Taking a break from social media for even a week can help refresh and clear your mind. If you believe that you need more time, take it. Things are still going to be happening, and change is still going to be made while you’re taking a break, and that’s okay.


  1. Talk to others


Sometimes, it feels like we have to deal with things all on our own, especially now that many things have gone virtual. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Make sure you’re talking to people about how you’re feeling. Find a trustworthy person that values your time and talk to them because by doing so, it can take most of that unwanted weight off your chest. Also, be sure to reach out to other people and be the person they can talk to about their feelings. Creating special relationships with people is more important than ever.


[Image of friends conversing and laughing]


  1. Consume positive news


In the midst of all the negative news, positive news surprisingly still exists, and we can’t forget that. While we are acknowledging that the world isn’t perfect and there are horrible things going on, we must realize that positive things that are worthy of highlighting are still occurring. 


Here are a few great resources for uplifting news:


  • USA Today — Humankind section

https://www.usatoday.com/humankind/

  • Good News Movement

https://instagram.com/goodnews_movement?igshid=r35xnhq6m32r

  • CNN — The Good Stuff

https://www.cnn.com/specials/us/the-good-stuff

  • MSN — Good News Section

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/good-news

  • Upworthy

https://instagram.com/upworthy?igshid=12vg91z7idamd


  1. Change the way you engage with media


How we engage with the media can have a major impact on how we feel. You may want to consider reducing the amount of time you engage with it by setting a certain time of day when you’re allowed to go on social media. If you find yourself only getting negative news or posts, consider balancing it with things that are more positive. You don’t have to ignore everything that is negative going on, but you should balance it with things that will make you feel hopeful. 


  1. Prioritize regular self-care


Practicing regular self-care can help prevent the feeling of burnout. It can help refresh your mind and give you more motivation to keep going. Paint your nails, wear a face mask, go on a run—find something enjoyable and relaxing to do. You deserve it.


We must remember that taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish. If you’re taking the time to take action and be a part of change, you need to find time for yourself as well. Fighting against injustices and advocating for basic humans rights are not easy tasks, which makes addressing the effects it can have on mental health essential. You can change the world, but also remember to listen to your body.


[Image of holding hands and rainbow reflection]

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