5 Tips to Avoiding “Compassion Fatigue”

Sarah Ashley – Buffalo NY

Fighting for a cause that we are passionate about and being deeply embedded in the activist lifestyle while amazing and rewarding can also be exhausting. We often have to focus on the negative things in the world in order to try to implement change which can lead us to not paying attention to ourselves and our own personal well-being.

  • Be Honest!
    Cliché warning: We need to be self-advocates before we can advocate for others. As hard as it may be, you really need to be honest with yourself and others. We often find ourselves taking on way more than we can handle because we are trying hard to be helpful but it can really be harmful to our own well-being. It’s okay to be honest and say we aren’t able to help! Being honest about our feelings is crucial to being able to be a key player in social change. Don’t be scared to be assertive about your needs!
  • Take Care of Yourself Physically
    We’re busy, I get it. But we need to remember to take care of our bodies! As silly as it may seem to have to say, but remember to eat! And eat well (when you can), get some exercise and make sure you get enough rest. Additionally, if you’re sick, stay in bed! Focus on getting better! The world will manage a few days without you while you recoup!
  • Unplug!
    Facebook was involved with a study recently that, albeit creepy, disclosed some pretty important information about how we view negative information in our feeds. To sum it up, the more negative stuff we see in our feeds, the more negative our own posts become.Facebook isn’t the only thing we could all use a break from. As hard as it is to disconnect from current events, taking a break from the news can be much needed! Take a day to stay away from your laptop and phone and connect with the people close to you in your life. Or, better yet, focus on yourself, which brings us to number four.
  • Mental Health Days!
    We all need to take a day every now and then to focus on ourselves. Spend the day doing things you enjoy that will help you relax. As tempting as it may be to spend the day vegging out and watching Netflix (I’m as guilty as they come for doing this), University of Michigan says “lazy days” do not help with mental health! Instead they suggest doing activities that will help our brains produce more “feel good” chemicals. Some examples would be meditating, yoga, or doing some visual imagery.
    That being said, you probably can’t spend an entire day doing yoga so go spend time with your friends! Read a great book, spend time doing things that make you happy! But don’t forget to do it mindfully and off the couch!
  • Reach out to friends in the activist community!
    Fellow comrades are great to have! They understand your struggle to maintain a healthy balance in your life while fighting for the big picture better than anyone else. They can provide a lot of support and advice as well as a great way to remind us why we are doing what we do when times get rough.

Not yet part of an activist community? Join ours! Positive Activism loves supporting fellow activists and we are always searching for new voices!

About the Author

Sarah lives in Buffalo NY where she is obtaining her Master in Social Work. She has experience working with activists around the country within a myriad of different campaigns.  PA_Sarah

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