How to Look After Your Mental Health While Engaging in Activism | Mind Yourself

white on blue text reading 'Mind Yourself How to Look After Your Mental Health While Engaging in Activism'

In our Mind Yourself blogs, we help you take action for causes you care about while looking after your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. You can’t make a difference if you’re burnt out or ill!

Did you know that activism fatigue is a real thing? Engaging with a cause you care about can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be exhausting and damaging to our long term health… which makes it harder to make a difference. Here are our tips for looking after your mental health while getting involved with a cause you care about.

Set a Goal

If you want to learn more about a cause or issue, aim to read a certain number of recommended texts on the subject (here are our recommendations for short books on women’s rights!). If you’d like to fundraise, set a time budget each week to work on your cause. We don’t recommend setting a goal to get a certain amount of donations or sign ups, because they rely on other people. Focus on what you can do.

Budget Your News Consumption

Consider how you get your news. Online feeds and TV bulletins can be great in short bursts, to keep you informed on the day’s news. But headlines can be sensationalist and alarmist, with loud jingles and oversaturated colours… and it’s so easy to scroll for longer than planned!

The radio can be a nicer way to keep the news on in the background – in the UK, BBC Radio 4 has no advertisements or jingles. The BBC’s World Service, also without commercial breaks, is available internationally. Consider newsletters or print journalism for your long reads. Delayed Gratification releases quarterly, and Private Eye every fortnight. Why not turn your news consumption into an event where you sit with a cup of tea and take your time?

woman with brown hair reading a book and holding a mug
Image by Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash

Limit Social Media Access

Social media is wonderful for keeping up with friends, learning about causes and connecting with like minds… but you already knew that! You probably also know that it can be an anxiety-fuelling time drain, especially if you fall down a rabbit hole of learning about an issue in real time. The constantly-updating nature of social media can make you feel guilty about putting down your device.

If you’re worried about how much time you’re spending on social media, consider changing your phone settings or installing an app that closes a social media app after a certain amount of use. Alternatively, remove social media from your phone and access social media through a laptop or computer. It takes a few more clicks to access the account – especially if you need to enter your login details every time – and the feeds can be less cluttered than on mobile.

What do you think of our suggestions? If you have any others, we’d love to hear them in a comment!

Last updated on 16th September 2022

Published by Francesca

Author • Founder and Managing Director of the Do Something Directory • Still can't believe MCR reunited.

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