9. Avoid Anxiety & Burn-Out

Activity #9A:
Find Stress Relievers

  1. Make copies of the suggestion box and have each club member check off activities that appeal to them.
  2. Pair up and share (or with entire group): What activities do you currently do that are stress relievers? What new activities would you like to incorporate to relieve stress?
  3. Discuss and list a couple of activities you’d like to take on as a group.
  4. Go back to your roadmap and add in these group activities.

SUGGESTION BOX:

  • Get support from friends and fellow club members!
  • Breaks are essential—schedule time away from issues to recharge for the long haul!
  • Be grateful—acknowledge the positive aspects of life.
  • Don’t take everything on yourself. Prioritize your responsibilities and get others to help.
  • Commit to self-care: get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly.
  • Try relaxation activities such as: yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, or breathing exercises.
  • Stay in touch with nature—gardening, walking by the beach or in a forest, sitting quietly to savor the sunset or a view of trees.
  • Take time out to celebrate successes and achievements.

“The most effective way of transforming our society and so halting its destruction of the Earth, is through transforming ourselves, and the way we interact with both each other and the Earth herself. This, in part, is what our movement is about, doing things in different, more effective, and most importantly, less destructive ways.“

From: Activist-Trauma.net

How to Recognize Activist Burn-Out:

  • Are you extra quick to anger? Lethargic?
  • Have you lost your spark, stopped having fun, and stopped being fun to be around?
  • Do you experience physical or emotional fatigue or symptoms such as headaches, irritability, or low energy?

If You Experience Burn-Out:

  1. First, take a break. Focus on something else for a bit. Let people know you need some time away from the club.
  2. Commit to balance—you will be of the highest service if you are fresh and ready for action.
  3. Stay focused on what’s going right—take time to appreciate progress, no matter how small.
  4. Learn to develop more sustainable , healthy habits.
  5. View burnout as a warning sign: it can be an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-prioritize.

CREATE: A HEALTHY CLUB CULTURE

When you’re working on a worthy cause, it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders… Things may feel so urgent that you feel you shouldn’t stop working until all the problems have been solved. This attitude is a sure way to burn out.

Keep things fun and balanced!

Take A Stand for Balanced Club Activities:  

  • Accept periods of low motivation (for yourself and others).
  • Respect people for acknowledging they need a break: encourage them to recharge their batteries.
  • Be realistic about your team’s time commitments: If they don’t have the time or energy to complete tasks, empower them to speak up early.
  • Goal: maintain a strong team by relying on a variety of people.
  • Be there for each other: if you think a friend is having a hard time, ask them about it… and encourage them to take a break.

Pro Tip:

Accept your humanity and
be compassionate with yourself and others.
Let go of expectations.

Activity #9B:
What Works for You?

PAIR UP & INTERVIEW A PARTNER:

  1. Thinking back to events you’ve participated in for the club, what situations give you the most energy?
  2. Which situations grind you down and deplete you the most?
  3. What are some good ways to relieve stress? What specifically helps you?
  4. What activities brings out the best in yourself and others around you? What’s fun for you?

Prioritize:

  • BALANCE:
    Be sure the club prioritizes your mental health and the mental health of others. Watch out for each other.
  • RESPECT:
    Maintain a respectful attitude. If you’re having a bad day or things didn’t go as you thought, don’t take it out on others.
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
    Stay focused on working as a team and the progress people are making towards a goal. What’s going well?
  • RELATIONSHIPS:
    Make the club priority about relationships. Don’t get so caught up in the work that you forget to connect with club members. Treat each other with respect.

Meet: Emma Valenzuela
La Jolla High School, La Jolla, CA

HOT TIP:

” Let go of the need to
be perfect. There are a thousand little things you can criticize yourself for doing but it is unfair to put all the weight of the planet on yourself.~”

WHAT I’VE LEARNED:

“I’ve learned to put my health first. My newfound knowledge of the palm oil industry made me rethink everything. I had trouble finding food to eat in my pantry, so I just ate less and less…my health suffered, and I wasn’t able to take on as much for the club. I had to accept that I can only do my best, even if it’s not perfect.”

Emma founded the ‘Eco-Club’ at La Jolla High School.

Activities: Organized 2019 La Jolla High climate strike.

Highlights: I am most proud of launching my club. We may not have done anything extreme just yet, but it is nice to have a group of people to talk about these overwhelming issues.

Activity #9C:
Create a Healthy Club Culture

PUTTING A HEALHTY CLUB CULTURE INTO PRACTICE:

  1. What recommendations do you have for the club to adopt a healthy culture for its members?
  2. Do you see ways you can encourage others to keep balanced?
  3. Are there any stress relievers you can do as a group activity?
  4. Make a concrete plan (Example: After walk in April, plan a vegan chocolate tasting party). Add these activities to your roadmap.
  5. Set aside time to celebrate wins and successes. Build these kinds of activities into your roadmap to make them happen.
  6. Revisit your roadmap and double check that there are fun, stress-relieving activities built into your plan. Add in where needed.
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