[5 Tips] How To Cope With Activist’s Fatigue

I think one of the hardest things about being part of a movement–or even just aligning with your values–is trying to deal with the inevitable moments of exhaustion that come with going against the grain.

Activist’s Fatigue–also known as Activism Fatigue or Activist Burnout–is best described as the moment when the sheer amount of emotional/mental/physical effort we put into something we advocate and believe in just wears us out. We become exhausted, lose motivation, avoid the topic we’re activists about, or even become physically ill because of the amount of stress it puts on our bodies.

activists fatigue.jpeg

It’s a real concern and something every activist needs to watch out for. But how can we possibly prevent activist’s fatigue when there is so much to do, so much to accomplish, and it’s basically like waging all-out war against a brick wall half of the time?

I feel you. As a member of the vegan community, a budding environmentalist, and a minimalist, I’ve definitely felt the pain of walking that tightrope between what matters to me and what I am physically/mentally/emotionally able to do for the movements and philosophies that matter to me. This is not me waving a white flag, though. Oh, no. Having battled with Activist’s Fatigue several times and winning out, I would like to share five tips that helped me get through the worst days of Activist’s Fatigue and what keeps me motivated going forward. Read More

[11/2] Mindful Journaling

These journaling exercises is intended to give examples of how one may go about writing mindfully. Utilizing the senses and letting thoughts drift as they may, mindful journaling is a great way to slow down and experience the moment as it is.

If you listen closely enough, you can hear the humming and whirring of florescent lights and snoozing laptops. Students’ fingers scrape against the pages of the novels they are thumbing through, seeking answers hidden among the text like a treasure hunt.

Liquid collects on the outside of my water bottle, dulling the gold leaf on the glass, temporarily reflecting the gray dampness stuck to the windows. Lose drops slide and absorb others with the quiet hand of gravity.

The room is cool, the vents circulating the air and sending the hanging decor spinning about erratically. They want to fly, too. Or escape maybe.

My heathered navy sweater encapsulates me with warmth. Lightweight yet soft, it flows across the hills and valleys of my body, sleeves hanging casually past my fingertips. The pen I hold has a particular sort of firmness, a stubborn resistance from the pressure my left hand exerts on the paper, bound softly in cloth stitched together by a woman from India. A purchase from a fair trade shop in the city I begrudgingly call “home”.

I imagine her fingers are more calloused than mine. I wonder if she liked her creation as much as I do, or if it was yet another of a long list of journals to make that day, not a moment to appreciate it.

I hope I’ll get the chance to create like her. Use my mind and hands to give birth to beautiful tools as she did for me. I never knew this woman, I don’t know her now. But I think about her a lot.

She’s an inspiration.

Or a muse.

 

She has my respect.

Mindful Mondays: Letting Go

“Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.”

— Melody Beattie

Happy Monday!

This week, let’s focus on what we can let go of.

Mental decluttering and reducing stress are integral to good mental health, and they’re usually linked to external factors such as responsibilities, perceived obligations, and anything that makes you feel like you have to do it too.

Here’s the thing: You don’t.

First, write down everything that you need to do in the near future; Bills to pay, meetings to go to, tasks you’ve agreed to do, all of it.

Now, let’s try a simple meditation technique today: Simply sit still and focus on your breathing.

breathing gif

Aim for 10 minutes of this activity.

Then, after completing the exercise, look again at the list and decide which of these you can cross off.

Sure, there will be some that must be done whether we like it or not. What is important to note, though, is that there are more things that don’t have to be on our To-Do Lists if we would just give them a satisfying strikethrough.

How much time have you freed up today?

The Lit List: How Not To Die

how not to die

Name: How Not To Die by Michael Greger, M.D.

Best Features: Extremely informative, wide plethora of sources, academic yet approachable, can skip around

Possible Pitfalls: Long read, info-heavy, controversial

Overall Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ [5/5]

Discussion: This book has changed my life. It has become my favorite book in print, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone that asks me for book ideas. Or even if they don’t ask me for book ideas. 😉

How Not To Die discusses what foods are making us sick, how we can avoid them, and what foods will actually work for us to heal. Dr. Michael Greger does promote an entirely whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet, but he doesn’t go into Whole Foods Veganism as a movement. If you don’t like Vegans or Veganism, you won’t hear a lot of preaching about what you should do just because the author says so. Nor will you hear anything about animal rights or the environment. Almost anti-activist, Dr. Greger simply cites source after source, academic peer-reviewed study after study of nutritional information for your cross-referencing pleasure. Sometimes six references in a single sentence. Pure factual information.

An easy read, with plenty of science to back it up, I wholeheartedly recommend How Not To Die to everyone. No wonder it has five stars with over 2k reviews on Amazon.

Mindful Mondays: New Beginnings

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.”

— Arnold Bennett

Happy Monday, everyone.

This week, make an active effort to forget about the past. Even for a moment.

Take a sip of your favorite drink, soak up some sunshine, and revel in the now.

It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Eve to make a resolution, form a goal, or change your life.

Action only happens in the present. Change only happens in the present.

Let the past rest easy today, let the future remain distant.

Reimagine now.

Mindful Mondays: Awareness

“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the most soothing,

the most helpful,

The most grounding efforts one can make in their mindfulness practice, is awareness.

Beth Berila dives into this quite a bit in her textbook, Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education (Amazon link here, author website here). I highly recommend it for those, like me, who are pursuing a degree in education. It’s definitely on our Lit List list (haha).

One of the techniques she teaches is called “Cultivating The Witness” (p. 79-80*), which, at its root, is simply cultivating the skills necessary to be aware of a situation without being overwhelmed by it.

How can we do this?

The first step is to meditate on a scenario that caused a strong reaction in the past. Evaluate yourself without judgment. Ask yourself why you felt that way, explore the root(s) of your reaction.

Then, when confronted with the same or a similar situation in the future, try to stop and evaluate. Compare, in the moment, if the root is the same. If it is, ask yourself:

What can I do to heal?

 

*Berila, B. (2016). Integrating mindfulness into anti-oppression pedagogy: social justice in higher education. New York: Routledge, is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business.

Vegan Thoughts: How Do We Advocate?

I often think about how exactly I should explain Veganism to others.

It’s not like it’s not an extremely important topic to me. It’s not like it doesn’t define my life in a crucial and mind-bogglingly-all-encompassing way. It does.

But determining my style isn’t exactly easy because I don’t fit into the two main “Advocacy Camps” that take the internet by storm.

The first, which I lovingly call the Vegan Warriors, are those who pour their energy into tirelessly pushing the Vegan message toward anyone who will listen. They are the ones that will promote the cause. They will argue, they will protest, and they will use their very last breath to fight for the cause. Their passion is infectious, righteous, inspirational.

And I absolutely admire that. Vegan Warriors are crucial for the Vegan movement. For every kind whisper and silent action that is heeded by some, there are others who need a proverbial thump over the head by a Vegan Warrior to see clearer.

The other camp, whom I call the “Vegan Priests,” are the Warriors’ gentler counterparts. Calmly explaining Veganism, but only when asked. Compassion is their message and understanding the position of those they’re talking to is their motto. Vegan Priests are more likely to be understanding if someone explains why they aren’t entirely Vegan, insisting that any action is better than none; that all contributions are good and a sign of progress.

And they are correct. Priests bring the humanity back into the cause, and are more approachable on many fronts than the Warriors. It’s easier to open up to them, it’s easier to explain to them where you are without fear of judgment. This is important for those who are put off by the force of Vegan Warriors and simply want someone to understand that they are interested, but have their fears and reservations. A Vegan Priest’s specialty, really.

But where do I fall?

Somewhere in the middle, truthfully. I’m no textbook advocate, but I care. I’m willing to explain, not likely to start a conversation with Veganism unless it makes sense in that context. I understand where people begin, yet I want to see more progress.

And that’s alright.

Perhaps any advocacy, no matter what it looks like, is better than none at all.

[EDITED] Series Update: Eco-Friendly Fridays Going Monthly

After much deliberation, I’ve decided that EFF should be reduced to once a month. I believe that this is for the best, since it would allow for a more in-depth post about eco-friendly topics. Every other week, despite giving me more time, still felt too rushed. Therefore, Eco-Friendly Friday will occur on the third Friday of every month.

[EDIT]: HOWEVER, due to personal events, the series will begin like this on September 15th, 2017.

Thoughts: On Lost Time

You know,

It’s been a  while since the FYF team has posted anything. A shame on our part, really. Time management is probably one of the hardest things to work around. Partly though, it must be because of how we’re organizing our priorities.

It’s amazing how much time simply flies by when we’re anticipating actions that never happen. So many goals, so much to do, such a large number of things that can get in the way of progress. Why? We’re prioritizing comfort, perhaps. We want a moment to breathe, an escape from reality and for responsibilities to drift away like petals in the breeze.

Somewhere, in all that mess, lie our true desires. Running a blog is one of my passions, one of my favorite hobbies. So is cooking, crafting, creating beautiful spaces, and enjoying warm mugs of tea in the morning.

These are the things I should be prioritizing.

It’s easy to forget that, huh?

Simple things that give so much pleasure despite the time they take up.

Everything takes time. Might as well pick the things I enjoy the most.

 

See ya soon,

Savannah

Mindful Mondays: Suicide

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.”

– Joseph Addison

The tone of this Mindful Monday is a little different than usual.

Unfortunately, some of my close friends have been coping with more loss than they should ever have to deal with this week.

While we can prepare ourselves in some way for the inevitable loss of our loved ones from age and natural causes, suicide always hits hard and without mercy.

If anyone around you is experiencing thoughts of suicide–even if it doesn’t seem like they would act on them–please call 1-800-273-8255. You will be routed to the nearest Lifeline facility that can connect you with local resources that can help your loved one.

For more information, refer to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.

Remind those around you how much they mean to you.

Thank you.