As important as it is to give back through activism in some way, you don’t want to let it become something that wears you out and depletes you. Which, especially if you dive into with both feet to a cause you are truly passionate about, is super easy to do. But then it takes you out of the game. And worse it may make you think that it’s not possible to be active in the community AND live a balanced life. But I’m here to tell you, it IS possible. Today I’m sharing 3 things I’ve learned about how to give back without wearing yourself out:
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1. Stay Open Minded
If you’re rigid in your thinking it takes a lot of energy to maintain that sense of rightness. Yes, listening to others and learning more takes work. But if you can practice listening and re-thinking your assumptions, you will ultimately stay more energized and can better can give back without wearing yourself out. Because you’ll be less focused on trying to control the outcome. Which is tiring, and more focused on being present, which is energizing.
2. This One is SUPER Important in Terms of Staying Engaged and Happy: Gather Your Troops.
Talk to your friends and family members and ask if anyone would like to join you in your efforts to give back. You will meet new people and form new relationships when you get involved, too, so if no one you know ends up joining you, don’t let it dissuade you. But doing anything with a buddy will help lift your spirits when they need lifting, will make it more fun, will get you to keep showing up, and also to have someone to hand something off to when you need to take a break. It really does take a village to do important things. Also, there will be times when you would never make it to the important meeting, for example, if you don’t get a ride with friends.
I have come to think of the people I’ve met working on campaigns for candidates I believe in or lobbying at the state house for the passage of a bill that was important to me as my activist family. Not everyone will become a best friend, but at the very least, your network will grow, and you just might meet someone who is in your life and means a lot to you for a very long time. Also, when you invite a friend or family member to give back with you, you deepen that relationship in a very beautiful way. You’ll have war stories to share, and a deeper bond. It’s very sweet.
3. Be Determined About Your Downtime
It’s an absolutely true paradox that the busier you are, the more you need relaxation. Even though you feel like you don’t have the time! Don’t talk yourself out of stretching before bed, meditating, walking, spending time outside, or whatever it is that makes you feel more like yourself. That’s just a trick of your ego to get you so tired and confused that you’ll quit. You have the time for the important things, and your health and sanity are important.
And in those moments when you might be tempted to quit, remember that not too long ago, doing nothing was weighing heavy on you. You may have to recalibrate how much you’re doing, or take a little time out to rejuvenate, but remember that activism is part of self-care. It’s how you express your voice in the world, and how you help create a legacy that will inspire others both in this lifetime and after you’re gone. Cut yourself some slack, but also #keepgoing. You can give back without wearing yourself out.
Speaking of cutting yourself some slack, next week the theme is Loving Yourself. I’m really excited to dive into this one. Have a great weekend, and talk to you on Monday.