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Approaches to self-care in activism

How do activists approach self care? Watch this video to find out.

In this video, you will hear our course contributors discuss what they do to support wellbeing and self-care in their activist work. They also share their advice on self-care.

As well as planning carefully for the practical elements of your campaign, it is really important to plan for how you are going to look after yourself and others when engaging in activist work. This also connects your SMART objectives – part of the reason that those objectives should be specific and realistic is in order to make sure that you don’t burn out and you’re giving yourself enough time (be kind to yourself! 🙂 Objectives aren’t just there to drive you forward; they’re there to protect and nurture you, too.

In this video, Yadira notes that it can be very reassuring to have colleagues who take care of each other and encourage each other to rest. Co-creating a space where it is OK to say no if you don’t have the capacity to take on activist projects is one way to encourage self-care. Evani emphasises leaning into the joy of activist work as well as recognising the ways in which it can be draining; For Peaks, understanding people’s individual capacities and being thoughtful when sharing meeting spaces is helpful. Savena notes that people produce their best work and have the most impact when they are feeling their best! She talks about the importance of building good relationships between peers. For Arda, open communication and being honest about when you need a break is important, and time for rest should be embedded into all projects.

Savena advises that people respect their own time and set boundaries; Peaks recommends developing a compassionate approach to activism that minimises judgement of self and others; Yadira advises people to learn to be comfortable asking for help and to feel a sense of community with others. Evani stresses the importance of rest for its own sake. Deji advises that people make it part of their culture to talk about capacity and stress levels, as well as whether they need support. Arda recommends avoiding beings ‘always on’ – you can take control by switching off your notifications and creating boundaries that feel right for you.

In the next step, we’ll ask you to create a self-care plan of your own. For now, we invite you to share your thoughts on what you watched in this video. Did anything stand out for you as a good approach to self-care? Do you have any other suggestions you would like to add? Please share in the comment section below, and take a moment to see if your thoughts resonate with others.

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