Take a vacation. Prevent sexual violence.
Having blogged about addressing common trauma response symptoms in the past, it’s clear to me that vacations are a pivotal part of anti-violence activism. Even though the challenge of leaving your work undone or turning off your crisis-wired brain can daunt even the most zenful activists, do it.
Re-realize the person whose interests and passions inspired your work to end sexual violence. Immerse yourself in healthy, rewarding relationships. Be fully present at the beach, so that next week you can be fully present in the counseling session. Go on, revel in it.
The thing is, taking time away from your work will make you a better activist. Talking about topics that are just interesting and easy instead of unpacking the hard stuff for a week or two out of the year will give your brain a healthy reset. You can get back to being an amazing advocate, instead of just operating on auto-pilot.
Of course things will happen while you’re away from your work. New clients will come in, grant deadlines will pass, someone will inevitably invite you to do a presentation for a large group. That’s where having a solid organizational structure in place will help to divert the load in your absence.
Things will also happen on your vacation. The SCOTUS decision allowing employers to claim religious exemption from providing contraception to women will spark heated discussion about women’s rights in the modern era among your loved ones. You never stop being an informed, engaged bystander for prevention. Even those conversations will seem a little less taxing or intimidating after some time in your happy place.
While I could have come back from my vacation ready and raring to blog my heart out about the big things that happened last week, I decided instead to remind myself and my friendly readership that taking a break will make you a better activist. Remember that ending sexual violence is not a calling…it’s what you do so that your true calling can be realized in a peaceful, equitable world.