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3 Strategies to Help Advocates Protect Their Own Mental Health

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Fighting for injustice and the ills of society are cultural pursuits birthed out of a passion for equality and human rights for all. However, how can one tell if or when these pursuits cause anxiety or become detrimental toward one’s own mental welfare?

Wellness and the ability to examine self-care methods against helping others are important. To effectively speak up and protest for the rights of others, wellness practices must be taken into consideration as a priority for those who fight sensitive causes.

The suggestion to put the oxygen on yourself first before you try to help another rings true, even when it comes to standing up to injustice in our society. With recent landmark causes at the forefront, it is arguably one of the most potent times in our history to become a change maker in formulating the trajectory of our world. Positive impact begins with reasonable limits on one’s judgment of what they can do to support in making that change possible for the greater good.

The importance of making time for your own mental health and recognizing the responsibility towards advocating for your wellness through challenging times as a vital source of personal advocacy is integral. This energy can be deposited in ways that are transformational or detrimental, potentially causing changes in mood or episodes of depression.

Whether it be writing letters to local officials regarding the stance of North Dakota pipeline’s future under a new administration, working with a local Black Lives Matter chapter on community reconciliation or participation in an anti-Trump rally, there are particular strategies that can be employed to ensure your time and space in the world is calm and you are supported while standing up for what is morally and humanly just.

Here are three transformational strategies that support those who protest while protecting their own sanity and peace:

1. Draft an accountability tribe.

For the healer who needs healing, pours into the lives of those in need and goes invisible, it is important to have people who can support in re-fueling these energies.

2. Write to grieve.

Remember we all have the right to grieve and feel emotions. This freedom is what gives us room to help others tactilely plan a movement through their own pain and misrepresentations of self. Keep a journal daily, and whatever comes up, write it down.

3. Secure self-care outlets.

We can’t take care of others until we first take care of ourselves. If at any time the feeling of being overwhelmed becomes unbearable, then stay mindful of those rituals and routines that bring you peace and sanity (such writing, talking to a friend, napping, taking a break, walking, seeing a therapist and hydration.)

Standing up for social justice in this world is a guipure of a goal for us all; however, when that good attempts to threaten the detriment of our own rights to maintain healthy mental health practices, we have the right to readjust such beliefs. Serving doesn’t always need to require bold bursts of physical assertion or mental maneuvering.

Supporting others can include points of solitude and quiet reflection, giving yourself time to re-enter into your own needs while thoughtfully planning ways to aid others. Protesting in ways that bring and keep a sense of peace is an admirable feat and gives opportunity for us all to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

This mission can be achieved as one heals while fighting for the rights of those disenfranchised, marginalized and dehumanized.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 8, 2016
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