As someone who engages in social justice/community organizing work (what some people might call activist work), I have had to over time re-assess and learn to understand my mental health on new levels. That is, the emotional and mental health toll that occurs with organizing can sometimes be overpowering. To have to balance work, school, a social life and organizing work often leads to being burnt-out. For me this type of burnt-out is usually beyond any other type I have experienced.
Recently, after feeling slightly on the verge of being burnt out and discussing the situation with my friend, I was sent this article.
In this article, what resonated with me was tip number 4: “Identify the specific causes of your burnout.”
Feeling burnt-out, overwhelmed, especially when you face other psychological/mental health challenges (whether in a form of a disorder or mental states such as grief) is extremely confusing. Thus, I think this tip is especially helpful because it helps orient us.
By finding the source of our pain and feelings of burnt-outness, we can re-orient and find solutions. Self-care should, in my opinion, ALWAYS come first. But finding the source can help us avoid it in the future. In social justice work this is especially important because usually the decision to commit to social justice is for life. In one way or another, those who are committed to social justice tend to continue with the movement.