Avoiding burnout can be a difficult thing to do, particularly when you are so passionate about what it is you are doing.
As someone who lives, works and breathes advocacy and equality for the LGBTI community, more specifically trans and non-binary communities, it can be difficult to stop the thought process of “how can I help someone else” and turn it into “how can I help myself”.
As advocates, we try to help those who may not be able to help themselves. To put it simply, we care, sometimes too much and we don’t want to let others down. To add to this, we’re not just advocating for other people, but also for ourselves and our right to exist freely and equally; it’s all very personal and that can have a huge effect, even on the most positive minded person.
For a long time I only ever helped myself by helping other people. I volunteer at various youth, mental health and/or LGBTI organisations, attend events and rallies to stay up to date with LGBTI issues, make videos and run this website, The Queer Av, which has multiple social media accounts attached to it. I did it because I love it and I still do it because I love it. However, I’ve come to realise over the years that helping myself and looking after myself first is actually so important in making sure I can continue to help those around me.
Recently, Trans activists Fox Fisher and Naomhán made a video about avoiding burnout and it’s actually the reason I wrote this article in the first place. I think it’s a topic not often talked about, particularly in the queer community through fear of appearing selfish or like we don’t care about others. Hearing them talk about ways to avoid burnout has helped me so much in making sure I look after myself and my mental health. It has also helped me tune into what my strengths and weaknesses are and has gifted me with the notion that it’s OK to say no to an opportunity, especially if someone else has the skills and capacity to do it better.
Take a look at the full video below and remember: Look after yourself!