“Badger, I’m worn out. I can’t take another discussion with a feminist or SJW. How can I get through this? I still want to be an activist but I’m burnt out. Help!”
We’re all very passionate in what we do, and it takes hard work and for many long hours to get information out in many different mediums—whether it’s street activism, videos, artwork, forums, or even within our own personal community. But what happens when you start to lose patience with the consistent feeling of bashing your head against a wall during debates? We live in a society in which most people have decided, without their own research, that what a feminist says is a fact just because a feminist said it. And if you dare question what a feminists says—misogyny. Yes, we’re all used to that word already. That one pretty much just rolls off the back. The media loves sensationalism, and after the hundredth time you’ve heard something similar to “MRAs abduct aliens for anal probing—misogynists!” (well, okay, maybe not exactly similar but still pretty far-fetched), it can get to you.
For those who have just started activism, you may be shocked by the death threats and explicit name-calling. If someone knows where you live and actually is a danger, report it and stay safe. Otherwise, well, this will soon become old news to you. I know, sounds odd, but with each death threat you’ll become more and more desensitized and at times it may even be comical. It will probably still get to you once in a while, but soon not as much. Of course, this isn’t really great for anyone, so if you feel it is too much for you, please put your own health first. You don’t need to put yourself through anything that feels like psychological trauma just to help out. There are anonymous ways to show support for the MHRM as well. So if it feels traumatic for you, there is no shame in putting your own health first, be kind to yourself.
For the seasoned activists, those before me, it can still be intense to deal with constantly standing in the face of no agreement. Standing up in a world that has not learned how to listen to men is daunting. The constant dealing with corrupt laws can be disheartening. When you’re facing a government that has been so completely enrolled in “man bad/woman good,” it can seem near impossible. What you do rarely gets acknowledgement—not that I’m saying that’s what you’re seeking—but on top of that it is so misconstrued. We live in a society where a men’s human rights activist has been warped to mean anything a feminist/SJW wants it to mean to shut up MRAs. Although it is changing, our society has been asleep at the wheel for too long and can often appear as resisting the call to wake up and drive consciously.
I recently experienced activism burnout myself. It happens sometimes. Each time, I learn more about myself and think of new ways I can get information about the MHRM to more people. So, what do you do when activism burnout happens?
1. Recognize that you are burnt out. If you are on edge, waking up in the middle of the night to jot down what you were going to say in reply to a friend or acquaintance, anxious to the point of insomnia over how in the world you’re going to share information so people actually hear it, there’s a good chance you’re burnt out.
2. Now that you know you’re burnt out, rest. Take a break from your activism. You need it. To be absurdly cliché, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Pace yourself. You can’t accomplish everything in one day, week, or even month. You can make yourself physically sick if you put yourself last, and that is not good. Your health comes first.
3. There’s no shame in being burnt out. You’re not an activism machine, you’re a human. Passion is great, and balancing it with self-care is necessary. Part of self-care is to stop acting like a tough gal/guy and just know when you need to rest and take a break. You’re not doing yourself or anyone else any favors when you’re not practicing self-care. So, stop feeling bad for needing a break. Don’t beat yourself up, it’s okay, you’ll be back to activism soon enough—if you want—and will be rested and better off for the rest.
4. Now what? For some, the drive to share information and support freedom for boys and men has become so ingrained in every day that you may feel a gap and a feeling of “now what?” That’s absolutely fine. Try to find something soothing for yourself to do, even something small, like lying in bed and reading a book, or playing a video game, or just resting and doing nothing for a bit. Even if you don’t have much time, find at least 10 minutes in which you can nurture yourself—either with a massage or listening to music or whatever you like.
5. Sample a five-minute guided meditation. Right, some people may say, “That’s hokey, no freakin’ way,” and that’s fine, trust yourself, you know what’s best for you. YouTube has great guided meditations that are as little as five minutes. Find the voice that works best for you. If you can’t stand the voice, you will not be able to relax. All you need to do is relax in the position that is best for you and let them talk you through the relaxation method. You can incorporate it into your every day, or every other day if you wish, and it will help minimize stress not just for activism but for daily life. Of course, it’s not for everyone, but this has been helpful for some.
6. Have non-activism friend time. Either set up time with your MRA friends to just enjoy each other’s company, play a nice game of Cards Against Humanity or just shoot the shit while watching them bake a casserole (true story). Or spend time with non-MRA friends—if you have any non-MRA friends left, that is—who are able to respect your stand and just enjoy your company.
7. Go outside to nature. Yes, a park equates to nature. I can’t emphasize enough how this really helps decompress and lift spirits. It’s great to get connection with what is outside of human interaction. Human interaction is beautiful and necessary, and time for yourself is also very important. Especially in nature, you can take time to just enjoy being. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, just time to be. You will find a million excuses to not make this happen, but you’re worth taking time with nature. If you can grab a blanket and lie on grass, it will feel like a full-body release when you are done. So worth it.
8. Sleep. Seriously. Get some. Actually, get lots! Take a nap, even if you only have time for a 40-minute one. Get yourself a regular sleeping schedule. Surely when you’re deep in your activism, you’ve lost sleep and lots of it. You need it, it’s necessary, get some. Without proper sleep your immune system will suffer and you will most likely get sick and/or have higher anxiety.
9. Eat healthy. When you eat better, you feel better and it keeps your body strong. I don’t have the scientific breakdown, but enough information is out there for you to know that eating healthy is a fact. Your body can’t run on junk; it needs proper fuel to function well.
10. Exercise. Oh yes, I said it, the big “E” word. It’s great for the release of endorphins and it improves your mood because you did something for your own health. It feels good to invest time in yourself. Even if it’s 20 minutes two times a week, that’s a start. No amount is too small. I remember when I first started working out, I did five minutes a day. Also, you can find good workouts that are efficient and 20 to 30 minutes long once you work up to it. Exercise does help release stress as well and improve sleep.
These are some of the many ways you can relieve activism burnout. When you’re ready to get back into activism, if you incorporate at least one of these—more if you can—into your routine, it will help minimize burnout. So check in with yourself: is it time to take a break? If so, please do. You come first, take care of yourself.
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