activism toll on mental health
Start writing a post
Politics

Allow Yourself To Take A Break From Activism If You Need It

Burning out helps no one.

447
Allow Yourself To Take A Break From Activism If You Need It

These days, it feels like our world is hurtling toward something very ominous. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of soul-bruising headlines circulating through the news and social media.

Glaciers are melting. European countries are turning away refugees by the boatload. Children are learning nursery rhymes about what to do if a shooter enters their classroom. Innocent black men and trans women are being shot for existing. The American president and many of his supporters advocate ripping children from the arms of their parents and placing them in internment camps.

If we as human beings are not sliding backward in history, ditching the progressivism we're supposed to have gained by now, we're certainly heading into a very worrisome future.

In times like these, the weight of the world's ills can be crushing. When will it end, we're forced to ask ourselves constantly. Or, perhaps the more unsettling question: How will it end?

It's important that we pursue these questions, and that we allow them to guide us in resistance and compassion, equally important virtues for troubling times. We can't merely lament the state of the world without doing something to improve it.

But it's also important that we allow ourselves opportunities to disconnect from the endless parade of horrors.

It's okay to turn off the news. It's okay to log out of Twitter. It's okay to occasionally shut your eyes and pretend everything is okay.

That seems heartless if you're the kind of person who does feel deep empathy and helplessness when presented images of dying children or desperate adults. Cocooned as we are by the first world, isn't watching—acknowledging—the suffering of others the least we can do for them? If we can't even endure their pain secondhand, across the world, flattened by a TV screen, how can we expect them to do it for real?

But wearing yourself thin worrying about the plights of others will not help them—and it certainly will not help you. Burning out is not useful to anyone.

You should take modern horror in the largest dose you can manage, but you are allowed to decide what that dose is.

Stepping away is not selfish; it's necessary. If a day or two of peace from sad headlines is what you need to be able to fight the next sad headline, then do it.

You were never going to be able to support every cause every day anyway. None of us can. But if we all take on as much as we can manage and forgive ourselves when that does not save the world, we will make a difference.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Alone At The Met

I survive a day alone in NYC.

5221
Wikimedia Commons

It was six in the evening. I was sitting in the courtyard of a Renaissance-era Italian villa, glancing around at the statues, most notably one of a boy removing a thorn from his foot. Despite the supposedly relaxing setting, I was incredibly anxious. My phone was at less than 5 percent battery, and once it died I would be completely disconnected from my family and peers, alone in one of the largest art museums in the country.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

College 101: How To Ease The Back To School Blues

Getting back into the school groove when you just can't seem to let go of summer.

8485
Beyond The States

With fall classes just beginning, many of us find ourselves struck with summer withdrawals. Especially for those who refrained from taking courses over the summer, it can be quite difficult to get back in the swing of things. Fortunately, there are various ways to help make the transition back to college as smooth as possible.

Keep Reading... Show less
Dating Apps

We Met At A Bar

Salvage what you can; if you can't, it's alright to walk away.

6159
We Met At A Bar
Anne Waldon

We met at a bar.

Keep Reading... Show less
Sports

The Mets And Me

They may be the worst sometimes, but this baseball team has given me more than I could ask for.

5016
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On September 3rd, 2001, a sea of children littered my home's navy-carpeted den to watch baseball during my dad's 40th birthday extravaganza. A baseball game flickered on the TV, and a red and blue bubble of a scoreboard sat in the bottom right corner of the screen. The New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies were in a wild game at Veterans' Stadium. As I, a five-year-old boy with a jumble of curly blonde hair, sat in the back of the kid clump, I wondered which team I should root for. After a long debate with myself, I decided that I should root for the team that's winning (duh). But, as the ninth inning rolled around with the Phils maintaining a 7-5 lead, some magic occurred. The Mets put up five runs in one frame, stunning the Phillie fans in the room and winning the game 10-7.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

If you love BTS, I'm sure you relate to one or many of them in several ways. This star test will help you learn more about which member you are most connected to.

3757
Which BTS Member You Are Based On Your Star Sign

Astrological signs tell a lot about a person. Do you ever wonder what your BTS bias star sign is? Is it the same as yours, or or are you more like one of the other amazing members? Take a look and find out what yours (and the members of Bangtan) says about you.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments