Published August 6, 2022 / Updated August 11, 2022
Take a Break
When exhaustion hits you, you should pay heed to what your body and mind are telling you and take a mental health break. Do not let hitting the wall be the first time you notice that you need help or just a break.
I feel like I have been running full speed ahead for 100 years. There has not been a break in my stride since mid-2015 and I am exhausted. Completely. Only I did not realize how much so until I stood still.
I remember election night 2016. Sitting with my twin sister in our matching pink Hilary T-shirts completely blown away by what was happening across the country. I recall the bloodshot tear-swollen eyes that looked back at me in the mirror the next morning. And, it does not take much effort to conjure up the nightmare that followed over the next 4 years. I have never needed a pensieve more.
When Biden won, I felt like I could finally breathe again. While I recognize that no one person would or will ever be able to solve all the problems we face as a nation, I believed that the horrors of the previous 4 years would be laid to rest. Or so I thought. There may be a friendlier face in the White House, but at the same time, we have witnessed just how infatuated with and devoted to its prior resident the GOP is.
I say all of the above to say this: we will never be able to completely solve every political problem. There are always going to be issues that we agree and disagree on. That is the nature of democracy—having a say and working towards a common goal, agreeing and compromising where and when we can. We will win some, we will lose some. And, in the midst of it all, we have to remember to take care of ourselves. The phrase, “we are in a marathon, not a sprint” is never more true than when it comes to politics and activism. Effecting significant change, in what often feels like baby steps, takes time and stamina.
There are 9.6 million members in our Resistbot community. We are here because we care about more than just ourselves. Even when a particular issue does not affect us personally, we have empathy and compassion for those who are impacted and we work on their behalf. We speak for those whose voices are marginalized and ignored; for those who lack the resources to advocate on their own behalf. That effort can be mentally and physically taxing. And, when the exhaustion hits you, you should pay heed to what your body and mind are telling you and take a mental health break.
Think about what brings you joy: taking a walk or a hike; finishing that book series you put down months or even years ago or starting a new one; turning off your notifications–all of them–and skipping the endless news cycle; having happy hour with your besties and talking about anything but politics or current events; participating in or watching your favorite sporting event; going to the movies and getting lost in an alternate universe; or, simply sitting still and breathing.
Remember, it is okay to say that you are not okay. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Maybe even more so. And, the addition of a global pandemic has not made things any easier. There is no shame in admitting that what we see every day across the world is sometimes hard to bear and maybe even more difficult for some than it is for others. If you need more relief than a brief respite may offer, reach out to your mental health provider for guidance. If you do not have one, check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Institute of Mental Health, or MentalHealth.gov. All three of these sites can help you find resources in your area. And, chances are that your state has additional resources on its individual website. For example, if you live in Florida, you can check out MyFLFamilies.com, and residents of California can find help on the website for Health Care Services. Please do not let hitting the wall be the first time you notice that you need help or just a break. We also have a Mutual Aid keyword ready to help you find people to connect with in your community.
And, when you are ready to pick up the mantle once more, you can count on us to be here.
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