The Importance of Self Care

December 9, 2014

If you will be celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah you know from past years that these wonderful celebrations can be exhausting and stressful.  Just the opposite of what they were meant to be.  But this isn’t about “how you cope with so much fun” it is about how these pressures can multiply emotions that you are already carrying around because you are an Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate.

Combating human trafficking is draining, emotionally challenging and yet it is one of the most rewarding activities that we can spend our time doing.  The work that we do results in persons being rescued from hell on earth, what could be better than that?  But the work that we do takes its toll on us.  For this reason, it is vital that you take time for some “self-care” so that you can become refreshed.

If you are an employed advocate, go out for walks on your lunch break and think about things other than human trafficking.  Take time on your days off to do things that are fun for you and your loved ones.

If like many of us you are a volunteer, you tend to be driven and lose track of “normal business hours” and will work until late at night or start very early in the morning.  With all of our convenient technology, we are forgetting to “turn off, unplug and shut down” for times of refreshing each day.   We answer e-mails during dinner and send text messages just before calling it a night.  Upon rising, we check our phones for messages texts or email, (sometimes even before we get out of bed).  None of these activities are bad or wrong, but they will take their toll on us.

All of us do what we do because we want human trafficking to end in our life time and because we deeply care about what is happening to innocent victims.  BUT if you become burned out, you will not be as effective and may walk away all together.

What are some things that you can do?  Self-care will take different forms for each of us, but here are some suggestions:

  1. Unplug for several hours a day. No computer, cell phone, messages (this is a challenge to you).  If you’re like me, this may require going on a hike, snow shoeing or some activity that makes technology unavailable. Observe how refreshed you may feel and how much more effective you are when you plug back in.
  2. Take time to spend meaningful time with those you love and care about (and don’t talk about human trafficking).
  3. Go out for coffee or a meal and enjoy the beautiful winter scenery that is all around us, no matter where you live, or read a book that you enjoy that isn’t about human trafficking.
  4. For those of you who have faith or a religious affiliation, ask for guidance about how you can best serve in this fight to end modern-day slavery, while respecting and caring for yourself.