Advocating for a human rights cause is heavy work. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sadness of abortion, the hostility of the opposition, and the obstacles we face. But the Pro-Life Generation is energized and up for the challenge.
As they say, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup.’ We have to take care of ourselves and approach our activism with intentionality to avoid burnout. Here are some ways to keep your momentum and stay energized.
10 Steps to Stay Energized
1. Write a personal mission statement.
This is your “Why.” Your “Why” is the driving force behind fighting to end the greatest human injustice of our time. It helps you see the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish and keep it in front of you. Whether that’s a picture of a baby you saved, the story of a post-abortive friend, or a crazy encounter that re-affirmed your pro-life work… GET THAT ON PAPER in a visible place that you can return to when you’re tired and remember why you’re working so hard to end abortion.
2. Stay organized.
Take the time to plan ahead and set milestones for yourself. Identify what you want to accomplish in the year ahead and what your team (your Students for Life group leadership team) needs to do each month to reach your goals. This will help you spend less time in planning meetings and more time doing pro-life activism. Use sticky notes, a physical calendar, time blocking, or whatever fits your style to get organized.
3. Celebrate the victories & milestones.
When amazing things happen, post it on social media and tell your friends! Highlighting your victories helps to both build up your group internally, and show potential group members that joining your group is the best way to impact the culture.
Go for a walk or a jog at least 3 times a week to keep your blood flowing! This also helps with creativity and can help bring fresh ideas, plus the hormones generated from exercise are well-known to improve mood and overall mental health.
5. Make time to recharge and do things that are not directly related to abortion.
Read a good book, go to the movies, have your group play a game after a meeting, or start a creative hobby. Find ways to take time to energize yourself. The injustice we fight is heavy, and we have to be intentional about not letting that bog us down by never stepping away.
6. Set boundaries on your time.
Say no to things that do not align with your mission and things that will get you off track. Your mission statement from Step 1 of this list helps you stay on track, but only if you make decisions that move your mission forward. It’s okay to say no to opportunities that do not align with your mission to keep your energy focused. Give yourself permission to say yes or no accordingly.
7. Practice setting limits.
For example, “I am going to answer as many emails as possible in an hour and set a timer,” “I am only going to work until my laptop battery runs out,” or, “I turn off my phone notifications at 9pm.” Do whatever you need to do to create healthy boundaries and make yourself stop and unplug.
8. Identify priorities and space them out.
You don’t want to be busy yet not be productive. If something is not urgent and doesn’t have an approaching deadline, you can push that back to do what needs to be done right away.
9. You have the power to choose your attitude.
Part of avoiding potential burnout is choosing a joyful attitude even when things are not going right. Anger, frustration, grudge holding, etc. all rob you of your ability to accomplish tasks quickly and effectively. Therefore, make sure you make that choice to be joyful.
10. Always have something to look forward to.
Whether it’s an event or hanging out with friends, always have something exciting around the corner. It can help you take a step back from whatever you are working on and gain perspective. This can also be an additional bright light to help keep your eyes look up and positive.
Find what works best for you! What you do in the pro-life movement is vitally important, and you have to take of yourself so you can be effective at what you do. Find your groove and stick with it.
Need help? Contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator at [yourstate]@studentsforlife.org.