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

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

The Film and TV Charity

The Film and TV Charity provides support for people working behind-the-scenes in the UK’s film, television and cinema industry.

Originally founded in 1924, The Film and TV Charity provides support for industry workers via a helpline, online chat and email. The organisation provides financial, mental wellbeing and bullying advice and support, legal advice and advice for freelancers. It also provides online resources, conducts research and advocates for industry improvement regarding working practices.

How You Can Help

Time: varied

You can fundraise for The Film and TV Charity.

Money: varied

Donate to The Film and TV Charity on a one off or regular basis.

Location: based in London, working across the UK

Learn more: https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/

(This information was updated 10/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Bath Business Improvement District

Bath Business Improvement District (BID) is a not-for-profit company, funded and led by Bath businesses for commercial improvement.

Founded in 2011, Bath BID uses a business levy to fund initiatives to improve the environment for local businesses in Bath and, by extension, residents and visitors. Projects include competitions and schemes to aid recovery from COVID-19, waste management plans and street maintenance, security marshals and promotion of city events. Bath BID ‘Rangers’ engage with residents and tourists with everything from offering directions to providing practical support to prevent the necessity of calling an ambulance or the police.

How You Can Help

Time: typically several hours at a time

If you are interested in volunteering with Bath BID as a Ranger, contact the organisation via its website, call 01225 430 640 or email info@bathbid.co.uk

Money: n/a

Bath BID does not accept donations. If you run or work at a Bath-based business, you may already pay a levy to Bath BID, or can volunteer to pay one.

Location: Bath, Somerset

Learn more: https://www.bathbid.co.uk/

(This information was updated 09/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

LGBT Ireland

LGBT Ireland provides support to LGBTQ+ people across Ireland as well as working on advocacy and awareness.

Founded in 2010, LGBT Ireland offers multiple support services including telephone lines, online chat support, peer support groups and online resources. The ‘Telefriending Service’ offers support for older LGBTQ+ people. LGBT Ireland also offers awareness training workshops and takes on advocacy work.

How You Can Help

Time: minimum 6 hours per month

LGBTQ+ Irish residents aged over 21 can volunteer for one of LGBT Ireland’s five local helplines (based in Cork, Mayo, Kilkenny, Dundalk and Dublin). Volunteers are required to offer a minimum of six hours per month.

Money: varied

Donate to LGBT Ireland on a one-off or monthly basis.

Location: across Ireland (based in Dublin)

Learn more: https://lgbt.ie/

(This information was updated 09/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Missing People

Missing People is a British charity offering advice and support for those affected by a disappearance.

Missing People offers a text and phone helpline to support those impacted by disappearance, as well as people thinking of leaving home. The organisation provides practical advice, peer support and information on police processes. It also offers guidance on reporting a missing person, media campaigns and dealing with longer term disappearances.

How You Can Help

Time: typically a few hours at a time

Missing People offers a variety of volunteering opportunities, including volunteering the helpline. Please note volunteers may be required to be aged 18+.

Money: varied

Donate to Missing People or fundraise for the organisation. You can also join events such as marathons or other sporting challenges in aid of Missing People.

Location: Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales)

Learn more: https://www.missingpeople.org.uk/

(This information was updated 07/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

My Body Back Project

The My Body Back Project offers support for women and non-binary people who have experienced sexual violence.

Working in London and Glasgow, My Body Back offers maternity clinics (including pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and breastfeeding advice and signposting for postnatal gynaecological exams) and specialist cervical screening in Mile End Hospital, London, and Sandyford Clinic, Glasgow. It runs workshops including ‘Café V’ and ‘Tips and Tricks’ where attendees can talk in a small, safe environment about topics including sexual challenges and medical procedures, often with professional psychologists and councillors.

How You Can Help

Time: a few hours to several days at a time

My Body Back sporadically puts out adverts for volunteers for work on social media, contributing to online materials or volunteering at workshops.

Money: none

My Body Back no longer operates as a charity so does not accept donations or fundraising, but recommends Rape Crisis for those looking to financially support a similar organisation.

Location: London, Glasgow

Learn more: https://mybodybackproject.com/

(This information was updated 07/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Julian House

Julian House is a Bath-based organisation helping homeless and at-risk individuals.

Julian House provides support for both children and adults, including an emergency hostel, outreach teams, addiction recovery, refugee resettlement help and support for those escaping domestic violence, and much more. Julian House works across the South West of England including Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Devon.

How You Can Help

Time: varied, typically a few hours or more at a time

Fundraise for Julian House or volunteer in various capacities including charity shops, day centres, refugee services or bike workshops. Alternatively, donate an old bike to the Bath or Trowbridge bike workshops. If you have items to donate, such as furniture or sleeping bags, get in touch with Julian House directly via 01225 354650 or admin@julianhouse.org.uk.

Money: varied

Donate to Julian House on a one-off or regular basis, leave a gift in your will or hold an event collection.

Location: Based in Bath, Somerset. Working in Bristol, Dorset, Exeter and Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon, South Gloucestershire, Basingstoke and Hampshire.

Learn more: julianhouse.org.uk

(This information was updated 09/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Friends of the National Libraries

Friends of the National Libraries aims to save the UK’s written and printed heritage.

Founded in 1931, Friends of the National Libraries offers grants for acquisitions to archives, specialist collecting institutions and libraries. It also acts as a conduit for gifting of books and collections to institutions.

How You Can Help

Time: n/a

Friends of the National Libraries does not currently accept volunteers. We recommend contacting the organisation if you are interested in working or volunteering there. Joining a a member online will only take a few minutes.

Money: £50+

Join Friends of the National Libraries as a member for £1 a week (£52 a year) and enjoy benefits such as concessions and library visits. You can also leave a legacy to Friends of the National Libraries.

Location: UK wide

Learn more: https://www.fnl.org.uk/

(This information was updated 09/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Rewilding Britain

Rewilding Britain aims to restore Britain’s ecosystems through the process of rewilding.

Rewilding Britain provides help and advice to those looking to rewild their land, from gardens to rivers and wetlands, to restore ecosystems, provide better habitat for animals and reverse damage caused by climate change. It also provides resources such as webinars and articles on monitoring land.

How You Can Help

Time: a few hours at a time depending on the project

Fundraise for Rewilding Britain, volunteer with a local rewilding project or sign up to the Rewilding Network. You can also rewild your own garden or outside space. Alternatively, donate to the organisation in just a few minutes.

Money: typically £10 or more

Donate to Rewilding Britain on a one-off or monthly basis or purchase from its online shop.

Location: Working across Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)

Learn more: https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk

(This information was updated 09/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

Musica Workshops

Musica Workshops provides creative arts and music workshops to disadvantaged people, thus improving wellbeing and self esteem.

Based in Ipswich, Suffolk, Musica Workshops provide in person, online and one-to-one creative arts and music workshops. It aims to promote, maintain and advance the creative arts especially for those experience difficult personal circumstances such as addiction, poverty or poor mental health. Musica Workshops works with people of all ages, including school children, young offenders, those with mental health issues and disabilities, and those in Pupil Referral Units. Workshops include creative writing, music and performance.

How You Can Help

Time: varied; typically a few hours at a time

Musica Workshops accepts volunteers. To find out more, get in touch via their website or phone Tim Ainslie on 07899 980524, or George Fothergill on 07733 386247.

Money: varied

Donate to Musica Workshops via the PayPal button on the charity website.

Location: Suffolk

Learn more: https://www.musica-workshops.com

(This information was updated 02/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)

4 Things to Consider When Volunteering or Fundraising for a Cause | Campaigning, Education & Activism

In our Campaigning, Education & Activism blogs, we share tools, tips and resources to help you help the causes you care about.

At the Do Something Directory, our one goal is to help you help the causes you care about. But whether you’re looking to campaign, fundraise or volunteer for an organisation or cause, there are a few important things to consider before deciding where to spend your time and money.

Your Aim

Do you want to raise a certain amount of money for a specific organisation, or raise awareness of a specific issue? Or do you want to offer hands-on help in a specific location or to a specific community? Knowing exactly what you want to do will inform all your decisions going forward, especially if you’re not sure if you want to volunteer or fundraise (or both!). In 1983, Michael Locke, whose daughter was finishing chemotherapy, decided to raise one million pounds for Cancer Research UK. It took him until 2022 to reach his target, but he knew what he wanted to achieve and tried fundraising methods such as sponsored walks, store collections and even selling marmalade.

If you’ve been impacted by an illness and want to help others going through your experience, you could volunteer with a local community group or in your local hospital. If you’ve been impacted by an illness and want to raise public awareness of the disease, a fundraising campaign might be more effective.

Time Required

Our directory tells you roughly how many hours or days are required from volunteers. But we’re just a guide, and we don’t know your personal circumstances. Consider how much time you really have at your disposal to fundraise or volunteer. Work out a ‘time budget’ as you might a monetary budget. How many hours do you spend on your everyday activities per week, and how many hours are spare? Don’t forget to factor in travel time if it’s relevant, or logistics regarding transport or paperwork.

runners' legs in a row, wearing trainers, socks, ribbons, leggings and tutus

Costs Involved

Some fundraising opportunities come with hidden costs, while volunteer roles will likely come with more obvious expenses. Crowdfunding platforms may charge a fee – meaning that a £10 donation won’t actually mean £10 goes straight to your cause – so do your homework on which platform to use to get the most from donations.

A volunteer opportunity might be several miles from your home and require fuel or public transport costs. If it’s home-based you should factor in whether the organisation covers telephone or internet charges. Some opportunities might be in a different country all together! You can volunteer at two of our animal rights entries, Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand and ARCHELON in Greece, but volunteers will have to cover costs including flights and accommodation.

Different Organisations and Their Goals

We recommend comparing different organisations that help your cause, and focussing on those to which you, individually, can offer the most help. HARP is a charity in Southend-on-Sea, UK, helping those facing homelessness in the area. It may require different skills, time and activities of its volunteers than Shelter, a UK-wide charity focussing on providing advice and campaigning for law changes. While HARP might need a kitchen volunteer in a specific location for set hours, Shelter might want volunteers for just a handful of events per year. Similarly, some refugee organisations or women’s shelters will have enough donated clothes that a clothing drive or sponsored knitathon is unnecessary – but they might desperately need toiletries or books, or volunteers who can spend a bit of time helping people learn English.

dozens of used books in boxes

Supporting a good cause shouldn’t cause you financial stress or take over your daily life – so make sure you’re aware of everything involved when embarking on your volunteer role or fundraising campaign!

Do you have any tips for people looking to campaign or fundraise for a cause? Let us know in the comments!

Last updated on 8th August 2022

ARCHELON (Τhe Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece)

ARCHELON aims to conserve the sea turtle population of Greece and raise awareness of environmental issues.

Established in 1983 as Τhe Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, ARCHELON aims to conserve sea turtles and their population, by research, monitoring and data collection, rescue and rehabilitation. ARCHELON operates in Zakynthos, the Peloponnese, Crete, Glyfada and the Greek coastline. It also focusses on environmental education and public awareness.

How You Can Help

Time: minimum stay five weeks for volunteers in Greece; less than five minutes for donation.

Volunteer with ARCHELON in Zakynthos, Crete, the Peloponnese, Amvrakikos or Glyfada. Volunteers must be 18 years old; English is the language used in all projects although a certain number of Greek speaking volunteers are required for each project. Volunteer participation fees cover administration costs, insurance, training costs and more.

Money: typically ten euros or more

Donate to ARCHELON on a one-off basis or explore their turtle adoption options. Visit the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Glyfada, Athens and make a donation, or purchase from the ARCHELON online shop.

Location: Greece

Learn more: https://archelon.gr/eng

(This information was updated 09/08/22 and will be checked regularly by the Do Something Directory team. If you notice any mistakes, please let us know.)