I'm really excited to be delivering three workshops in the coming months on wellbeing for change makers. These are folk who are working hard every day to tackle some of our biggest social, economic and environmental challenges, often against huge funding constraints that make keeping the doors open a challenge. I know from experience that those of us fighting for change aren't always the best at self-care. Having been an activist, an organiser, a campaigner, a policy wonk and a CEO of a front line service, I know how hard it is to switch off at the end of the day, especially when your day has been about hardship, trauma and inequality.
I remember working at Scottish Women's Aid, organising Hollaback and doing my masters on trafficking all at the same time, and being told by very well meaning family that I should watch the girl with the dragon tattoo as it was "right up my street". It wasn't, I was hoping for some serious trash TV at the end of the day. But when you're working for social and economic justice, it is inescapable; it's often our own experience that drives us to supporting others.
For this reason, I'm super passionate about how we connect the dots between our own mental and emotional wellbeing and the political environment we live in. For people with caring responsibilities the mental and emotional load is heavy, and heavier if we're doing jobs that require urgency, commitment and bottom-less empathy. But our empathy isn't bottom-less. We might find ourselves burnt-out, hopeless, cynical and isolated. We might be stuck at anger at the problem, and unable to see compassion in the solution. How well are we helping the causes we're fighting for, if we're not taking care of ourselves? If we're not allowing for joy, for community and for connection, what does the future we want look like?
I don't believe that wellbeing is an individual pursuit, far from it, and it worries me that it's something that's increasingly commidified as a quick fix only the wealthy can access- although, don't get me wrong, I do very much enjoy a spa break... I do believe however, that checking in with ourselves, creating boundaries and nurturing the things that bring us joy and rest are incredibly important for our own lives, and in building the future we're all working towards.
As such, rather than just going to where organisations want me, I'm offering a wellbeing workshop in Edinburgh on the 5th March, to explore with folk fighting for change what wellbeing means, and how we understand it politically. We'll be joining the dots, getting creative and most importantly, making time to truly invest in our own wellbeing, together.
If you'd like me to come to your organisation to run an in-house session, get in touch.