Let’s just be honest. Whether your candidate won or lost in November, this year has been one wild ride for women and issues related to their equality and fair treatment. Discussions about what it means to be a “nasty woman”, what locker room talk should entail, and what reproductive rights women should receive are just the beginning. And they don’t seem likely to end anytime soon.
For some people, this year of discussion has been energizing. But for me, it’s been tiring.
I’m tired of discussing, educating and what often feels like fighting over women’s issues. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop, of course. I care about this stuff. A lot. But it’s not always easy to keep going and I know there are others who feel similarly. So for those who are a bit tired of fighting the good fight – whether it’s on women’s issues or any other cause – here are a few tips to keep yourself motivated:
Seek inspiration. No matter how tired you are, there’s someone out there who isn’t. Go find that person. Whether you track down someone writing online or have someone near you, make a connection with someone else who cares about your cause. That person can provide inspiration, reminding you that what you care about really does matter.
Luckily for me, there are a few younger women in my office who particularly inspire me by their enthusiasm for gender issues. Whenever I’m feeling down, I’ll talk to one of them. What I see as the same ole problem, no longer worth my effort or emotional resources, is usually a much bigger issue to them. And when I stand up for what they care about, whether through the GovFem column or in the office, I can see how much it means to them. That keeps me going.
Tap into your support network. More than providing inspiration, individuals who are similarly passionate about your causes can also support you through tough or tired times. More likely than not, they’ll let you know you aren’t alone in your feelings and they’ll help you work through them.
That support doesn’t have to be a dialogue where you’re chatting and sharing your feelings, either. (Admittedly, that idea makes me even more tired!) Instead, read a blog or listen to a podcast to connect with others who have similar concerns and causes. If you’re specifically feeling post-election anxiety, I recommend the Rage Phase and Get Swole episode of feminist podcast series Call Your Girlfriend.
Allow yourself to take a step back. But if your community isn’t enough to get your motivational juices flowing, don’t fret. I know it can feel like you have to take action RIGHT NOW in order to make an impact, but allow yourself to take a break when you need it. After all, a well-rested and motivated you will get a lot more done than someone working half-heartedly out of a sense of obligation. Take a step back and rejoin the conversation when you’re ready.
Pass the baton (for a while). But just because you decide to take a step back, doesn’t mean you have to totally abandon your cause. A great way to keep the momentum going is to charge more enthusiastic and less tired individuals with carrying on the fight in your stead.
Think of those people who inspired you. Or those communities you found for support. If you can help them get something done, you can lower the lift for yourself while still helping the cause. Here’s an example of how I do that:
If you regularly read the GovFem column, you might have noticed a couple of new bylines. That’s because two of our wonderful new writers, Courtney and Korey, have started cycling in to write about topics they’re particularly passionate about. Their help gives me a chance to take a breather while still getting out the good word. And because I edit every article, I still get to be involved in the column and receive my weekly dose of inspiration.
This has been a long year, and the next one is sure to be just as tumultuous. It’s okay to be tired, but don’t give up. Find your people, take a break, and find new ways to keep the momentum going.