Self-Care of an Activist

We talk about it often.  Given the kind of work we do ~ whether it’s a volunteer gig, like escorting, or a full-time job in the world of community service ~ self -care is an issue.

We tend to put our energy into taking care of other people, and then, when we’re exhausted and half burnt-out, we fuss at ourselves for not practicing better self-care.  Sometimes, we believe we don’t have time to take better care of ourselves, or we think it would be selfish, or we just get pulled into the feel-good satisfaction of helping someone else.

I’m developing a workshop on self-care, so it’s on my mind.  Doesn’t mean I remember to practice it, but I’m thinking about it.  Actually, I’d much rather think about it, figure out things to tell you about how to take care of yourself, than sit out a Saturday of escorting because I don’t feel 100%.

Fortunately, I get lots of reassurance from other escorts not to worry about missing, to do what I need to do to take care of myself.  Since we’re not actually an organization and no one is “expected” to be there any particular day, I really already know it’s ok to miss.

But it amuses me to realize how much I appreciate having their permission to stay home.   Like the notes we write for our kids to take to school:

“Please excuse fml for missing school yesterday.  She was sick.”

It’s a magic “get out of jail free” card.  No one can fuss at you for not being there, and you get extra time to make-up your work.   That’s how I feel about the facebook notes I get from other escorts ~ “don’t worry,” they say, “we got it covered,” “stay home and rest.”

That’s support for self-care, and we need that culture around us.  Subtle or not-so-subtle guilt trips about missing can add to our own reluctance to let anyone down.

Speaking of letting anyone down, I had a blog post ready for today ~ it was not about self-care or not feeling well myself.  But I decided it needed more work, so that left me here ~

~ not feeling well enough to go escort, without a clear thought for a blog post, sorely in need of an excused absence note.

So, you might consider this blog post part of my own self-care!  And stay tuned for a workshop in December.

4 thoughts on “Self-Care of an Activist

  1. My hubby tells me the same thing, take a week off to take care of myself that I put too much energy and emotion into taking care of women who find me on the internet, I organize resources, point them to abortion funding, find clinics, help with judicial bypasses, give advice, lend a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.

    Some days I am exhausted by being a midwife, being a mother, a wife, an activist and then when I sit down at my computer at night I have to help a women in the United Arab Emirates or the Philippines find abortion meds locally or convince them that WomenOnWeb.org is legitimate. It can be trying at times because no matter how much I do or how much of myself I give another email pops into my inbox, another women or girl begging for help, for direction. It’s never ending but my energy isn’t, my time is limited and what I can give is stretched to the breaking point. Self-care is very important and sometimes we forget that we need a break or we will burn out and up.

    Oubli aka Divine Oubliette (I can be Googled therefore I am)

    • Your life sounds really full – in a good way, and I’m sure it can be overwhelming!! You should probably listen to your husband. 🙂

      Easy for me to say, right?

      I googled you too -wow!!!

      I’m speechless!

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