There comes a point in most folks life and work where you just feel… tired. I don’t just mean feeling tired after a day of work and needing to sleep at a decent time. I don’t mean “we stayed up a bit later than usual last night” tired.
When engaged in social justice work relentlessly in both my professional work life and my personal life, including my hobbies, there comes a point when I burn out. There comes a point where I feel like all I am doing is living and breathing issues of inequity, constantly fighting and pushing the status quo for social change. There comes a point when I feel like I am one of the only people really pursuing social justice… and I become isolated. There comes a time I see so much hate, pain, and sadness, I feel desensitized and without hope. There comes a time when I even see all of my allies burn out. When I experience this type of tired, I can get as much sleep as I need, I could be physically energized; however, I feel sluggish and unmotivated.
How do I reenergize? How do I keep doing the work that I do while still enjoying and loving my work and hobbies?
First and foremost, I rely on my allies and mentors who are also doing the work. I mentioned up above, I often see my allies burn out with the work. For me, I try to support those folks when I am feeling headstrong and energized in social justice work and turn to those same folks when I am feeling burnt out. With the give and take (and hopefully a staggered “burn out”), we are able to hold each other up – stand up for each other – when we feel like we can’t by ourselves. A concept that is hard to remember is the connection of different oppressions and liberations. Sometimes I think a certain issue isn’t my issue to stand up for because it doesn’t directly affect me. However, oppression is connected and my liberation is tied to all other people’s liberation. I need to use my energy, privilege, and knowledge/skills to stand up for others working for social justice. And hopefully those folks will stand up for me.
Second, I turn to my hobbies, board games and books. I know I approach both of my hobbies from a critical perspective to examine how our systems of privilege and oppression influence the hobby. But sometimes I just want to have fun. Sometimes I just want to enjoy a book. I have often wondered if I really can turn off my “social justice” sense. BUT I have found games I have already analyzed to be easier just to have fun. And I also have my favorite books and short stories I can pick up to read a favorite passage or chapter. All with a big mug of tea!
I am currently on the path of reenergizing and recharging. More posts to come once I do 🙂
What do you do to recharge?