Being an activist can be a very rewarding form of self-care. Regardless of what makes you passionate, you can use this passion to do good and this can be extremely empowering.
The definition of activism is:
‘The action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change’.
Whether it be campaigning before a general election, participating in climate change events, supporting animal rights, promoting better LGBTQ+ rights or even highlighting the importance of good mental health, you can make a difference.
So, how can you get involved? If you feel that activism may not be for you, don’t worry, activism does not always mean marching in the streets like it used to; Nowadays, it can be as simple as making a social media post urging people to make change. It could include being on your school’s council, your local youth council or even standing for Youth Parliament or you might want to campaign on behalf of a charity or cause you are passionate about.
What are the benefits? Not only does activism give you distraction from your own life, but it also allows you to stop others being distracted from important issues. You get to give back to a cause that you are passionate about, whilst also gaining self-gratification in return. Taking part in group campaigns can also be a great way of meeting others who share your views.
As part of our #SelfcareSummer campaign, Leila from The Climate Coalition shared how activism helps her mental health and provides some tips on how you can become active in the causes that matter to you:
What young people have told us:
'I got really involved in the Black Lives Matter/George Floyd 2020 movement. This reminded me how full of empathy I am - which I sometimes end up bringing out as anger in the wrong ways.'
'It reminded me of how passionate I am about things, but maybe things that aren't obvious or other peoples passions. It helped to bring me back to who I really am under it all.'
There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.
If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.