We activists talk a good talk about self-care, but we often forget to walk the walk. Which really means, we forget to take a chance to slow down and rejuvenate/debrief/*eat*/*sleep*/do something fun if it’s been a hard day etc. I keep saying that we should include “nap time” or “break time” during Creating Change. The Lunch on your-own time is great, but it’s not enough time to eat and take a nap in a lot of cases. Why am I writing about this? Well, I’m interested in lgbtq health- physical, spiritual, mental, and in keeping this active, passionate community going!!
Activists suffer from burn-out a lot. In a way, Creating Change is a micro-example of that. Step back for a minute and think about how early you’ve been getting up, how many workshops and meetings and networking events (all of which are awesome, don’t get me wrong,) that you went to each and every day before finally hitting the bed to catch some shut eye and waking up what feels like a second after you got in bed?
How many times did you meet people in the hallway/elevator/lobby/wherever and say “how’s your conference going?” and hear “it’s great but I gotta say I’m really, really tired.” We are so excited about being here and connecting with all of our awesome fellow social justice activists that we do the same thing we do in our every day lives, we go go go and then a lot of us burn out from sheer exhaustion or catch colds from each other, etc. A wise community leader just told me “a dead activist isn’t a good activist.” It sounds kind of harsh, but he’s exactly right.
Does it mean the conference would have to extend a day longer maybe? maybe… but, if each day there was a larger chunk of time for self-care, where you were encouraged to go take a nap in your room or rehydrate and eat or take a chance to step outside the hotel and explore the city you’re visiting and that in turn kept you healthy and rested, don’t you think it’d be worth it?
I do, and I definitely think it’s worth having a dialogue about considering for future CC conferences. We gotta keep each other healthy and strong ’cause we’ve still got a lot of work to do.
That said, as exhausted as I am, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Many thanks again to the LGBT Tobacco Control Network whose generous scholarship allowed me to attend my second Creating Change. I look forward to the year ahead and hope to be seeing many of you next year at Creating Change.
Take good care of yourselves & your fellow activists!