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Dear Feminists, Love Yourself Enough To Set Boundaries While Fighting For A Cause

From my journey as a mental health advocate, I know it is difficult to persuade people to change their views on certain things, and that can be stressful.

Life can sometimes be challenging.

But life as a woman could be extra exhausting.

Did you know that women in India make up only 18.6% of the labor force? Before turning 18, a minimum of 1.5 million girls are married annually. In the parliament, only 14.4% are women as of 2021.

A fight, be it for gender equality, equity, or whatever cause you are passionate about, can be excruciatingly difficult. While you fight for what you believe in, remember to take care of yourself. It is vital to have the energy to keep going.

It can be easy to forget self-care while being passionate about a cause. A lack of self-care leads to frustration and exhaustion, which can lead to burnout. For example, skipping meals, exercising, and me-time for a long time can cause physical and mental health issues. Ultimately, it can lead to a person resenting people they wanted to help in the first place.

Remember that it is okay to take time for yourself

Are you a feminist? Do you wonder why speaking up has to be so tough? It can be hard to break away from systems of oppression and challenge the status quo. No doubt, this can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, especially when things do not go in the way you expect.

Unfortunately, women face gender-based violence, misogyny, sexism, and other forms of oppression. It’s difficult to change something passed down for generations. A person who challenges beliefs can face resistance and hatred. Despite the challenges, being part of a community enthusiastic about making a difference can be empowering.

The world seems designed for men, and I sometimes wonder why. To be taken seriously, women have to work their way through. Not to forget the constant pressure from society to be “sanskari”.

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Activism is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember to take timely breaks to avoid burnout

Women need to put themselves first before their activism. It is always better to take care of ourselves first before helping others. It is similar to a plane where they ask us to wear oxygen masks before helping others. It is easy to get overwhelmed and get too attached to the people we support. A person can’t pour from an empty cup.

Learnings from my journey as a mental health advocate

From my journey as a mental health advocate, I know it is difficult to persuade people to change their views on certain things. And subjects like mental health are delicate. It could take a lot of effort, time, and energy to convince people that therapy can be good and that you do not necessarily have to be extremely ill to opt for it. But there can be a lot of resistance, gaps in understanding, and personal choices that I have to respect. It can be a problem if I get too invested. It could make me feel like my efforts have gone in vain, driving me to doubt my whole purpose.

Also, I’m a sensitive person. There are triggers involved while listening to or reading stories of different people.

I wish someone had told me about resistance and the difference in options. I know that it exists in all fields. For example, I think that mental healthcare and its importance are something everyone should know. But when people refuse to accept that, it overwhelms me. I also wish I knew there would be many people with unnecessary hate comments, which I know I should ignore but find hard to do.

Self-care is saying no to things I do not want to do. I try to practice yoga, listen to mindfulness meditations, and set boundaries with those who don’t align with my vibe.

As I’m spreading out my interest in gender advocacy, I realize it’s essential to apply the same principle.

How can self-care help prevent burnout while fighting for a cause?

Let’s delve deeper into a list of self-care practices that might be helpful:

  • Anything creative that helps you express yourself, like writing, painting, or singing
  • Spending time with family and friends if it helps you
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Sleeping well
  • Physical activity or regular exercise
  • Meditation or deep breathing for a bit of calmness or stillness to reflect on your thoughts or feelings

Additionally, go through culturally sensitive mental health resources. Self-care can be different for different people. These are only a few examples. Take time to think about what works for you and prioritize yourself accordingly. A few verified free mental health helplines that may be of use are listed below:

All in all, this is why activists should put themselves first and stop to take a break or enforcing boundaries to maintain a healthy relationship with themselves. In terms of advocating, there is a limit to what we can do. But since our lives and well-being are in our hands, it is always best to take time out for ourselves and give ourselves the much-needed self-care. If you are feeling distressed, kindly seek the help of a professional.

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries!” ~ Anna Taylor

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About the Author

Mirali Borde

Mirali Borde is an aspiring writer trying to make it in this world. read more...

21 Posts | 6,705 Views

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