Making Anti-Racism Sustainable

I fully support the Black Lives Matter movement and want past, current and future clients to know that it is safe to discuss these matters in therapy no matter where you are on your journey in addressing systemic racism. I am here to support you.

Out of respect Black community and the necessary reform we all must contribute to as a nation and as global citizens, this guide was created to help everyone make that journey sustainable and long lasting.

Activism burnout “results in people once highly committed to a movement or cause or organization growing mentally exhausted and, as a result, losing the idealism and spirit that once drove them to work for social change.” One does not need to identify with labeling themselves an activist in order to show signs of burn out. Since long term change requires continuing effort, it is essential that we learn to identify when we are depleted and how we can regain the energy and carry on.

Signs of activism burnout:

  • Affect: changes in mood such as increased anxiety, sadness, irritability, hopelessness, despair, overwhelm
  • Cognitive: reduced ability to focus, losing attention, forgetfulness, making small mistakes
  • Physical: low energy, muscle tension, fatigue, headaches, migraines, high blood pressure, sleep issues
  • Behavioral: procrastination, increased conflicts, substance use, excessive comparison
  • Motivation: despondency, low drive, losing meaning in your work, feeling purposeless

What you can do to recover:

  • Breaks: taking a break for hours, days or until you can re-engage in a meaningful way
  • Sleep: forming a good sleep routine so you can allow the mind to rest regularly
  • Eat well: a balanced diet fuels the body and mind and helps with recovery
  • Exercise: movements can help kick start alertness and improve mood
  • Chat: reach out to those who can support you and share your feelings
  • Play: let loose and do something that brings you pure joy, tap into spontaneity
  • Nature: take a walk, hike, tend to your plants or garden
  • Create: paint, draw, write, do something that allows you tap into your imagination
  • Practicing self-compassion and acceptance of your own individual abilities
  • Remind yourself that this is hard work and it’s OK to step in and out of it
  • Set achievable goals
  • Remind yourself that there is no “right” way to be a change agent
  • Stay in touch with how your head and your body feels

Activism can be done in many ways that can be meaningful. Please remember to take care of yourself along the way.

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