How Do We Take Care of Ourselves While Making the World Better?

Samantha Stein
3 min readDec 1, 2023
Samantha Stein

The term “social activism” is about working to bring about a change in society. It’s one of the ways our world wrestles with its values and, hopefully, grows for the better. It’s often an avenue that provides a voice and rights for people or beings which are otherwise unable to speak for themselves.

But social activism is not easy. Society doesn’t change simply or quickly — whether on the individual level or the societal one, change takes dedication, effort, and time. As a result, burnout is common among activists — many people who engage in social activism wind up feeling a lack of mental and emotional resources to continue fighting for justice. For example, up to 50% of union and peace activists were found to have experienced burnout.

Some of the symptoms of social activist burnout can include:

  • Exhaustion — feeling emotionally and physically drained
  • Cynicism — feeling a lack of hope that change is possible
  • Inefficacy — doubting self-worth or ability to affect change
  • Moodiness — feeling constantly irritable and/or down

What can be done to prevent this burnout? The Al-Anon program’s principles can be one avenue for preventing it. Al-Anon’s principles, which are rooted in personal…

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Samantha Stein

I’m a writer, photographer, and psychologist who (monthly) explores self, relationships, and mental health in an ever-changing world.