I just returned from a week-long vacation. A stay-cation, really. It was seven days of doing whatever I wanted. I went to the lake, I went to an amusement park with my nieces and nephew, I picnicked and hammocked…overall, it was a relaxing time. One thing I did NOT do was unplug. I’ve always wanted to try going without social media for a week, but unfortunately my iPhone has become like an extra appendage. So, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed one day I was struck by how overwhelmed and depressed I became as I realized that the majority of the stories and statuses on my news feed were related to anti-sexual violence work. I found myself becoming angry that instead of posts about what my friends were eating for lunch, I was staring at a barrage of work-related posts.
And then I felt guilty. Guilty for feeling angry about articles and status posts that on any other day would have spurred me to action, but on my vacation day made me want to run away from the work. I mean, as preventionists, shouldn’t we care about social justice, anti-violence, and anti-oppression work 24/7, 365 days a year? I really struggled with those feelings that day, and am still not sure that I handled it appropriately. But what I do know is that I immediately recognized that feeling of being overwhelmed and needing to take care of myself. And for me, that was “unplugging” from the work for the rest of my vacation. It wasn’t that I didn’t care; I just needed a break.
Have you ever “unplugged” from prevention work? If so, how did it make you feel? I’d like to think I am not alone on this one, so let me know by commenting below.
A picture of my unplugging place - no cell reception here!