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SELF-CARE IN TIMES OF ACTIVISM

To say it has been a difficult week would be an understatement. I say that knowing that there are others who are having a much harder week. Palestinians in Occupied Palestine have been fighting day and night for their freedom from the occupation and I am one of the privileged Palestinians of the diaspora who gets to watch from the sidelines instead of fighting in the battlefield. It is a blessing and I am grateful for it every day.

That being said, there is also a lot of guilt and helplessness that comes with that gratitude when I watch the horrors that have been unfolding in my country. Guilt as a result of my privilege, this falls under the “why them and not me?” rhetoric; and helplessness because I don’t know how to counter the massive atrocities that are taking place. Posting about it on my stories and signing digital petitions just doesn’t seem like enough but it’s all that we can do right now.

Almost every second of every day I’m glued to my phone watching what’s happening and sharing as much as I can. I’m trying to do my part to amplify the voices of the oppressed in the hopes that this can affect change and for the most part it seems like it’s working. Our hashtags are trending. Influencers and celebrities who have never even uttered the word Palestine before publicly are speaking up for us. Protests with tens of thousands of people are happening all over the world! What we’re seeing is unprecedented and it is so inspiring. However, we’re also still seeing a lot of heartache and despair coming from Gaza, Jerusalem, Haifa, the West Bank and so many other towns and villages.

I’m trying to read every story, watch every video, share every post and as I do so I’m mindful that I, like many others, can near burnout in doing that. I’ve had to force myself to take care of myself in whatever which way I can so I can keep the momentum going. It’s not my usual self-care routine when the world is okay. I haven’t been able to stick to my gratitude practice and my future-self manifestation journal. Instead, my self-care is a lot more basic but it’s working. So here are my self-care tips to avoid burn-out.

 

1. Be gentle with yourself;

and I mean in every way. Be gentle on yourself if you can’t stop watching the news, if you can’t focus on work, if you can’t bring yourself to do the dishes. Whatever it is, it’s okay. You’re receiving a lot of very traumatic information in between slivers of hope and if you feel you process best consuming as much information as possible, by all means go ahead. If you feel better being selectively in your consumption of news then you need to honor that. Just don’t force yourself to do anything that doesn’t feel good to you, and the dishes can wait till tomorrow.

 

2. Feel your feelings.

Emotions are definitely heightened. We’re seeing a lot of traumatic images and videos coming out of Palestine that are quite triggering. Allow yourself to feel the feelings so that you can move through them and continue fighting the good fight.

 

3. Take a break!

When you feel yourself anxious, when you can’t think straight, when your emotions are heightened, take a step back and take a break. Maybe listen to some music, exercise, watch some comedy, read a book. Pick an activity that will help your mind settle.

 

4. Go back to basics.

Above all else, make sure you are taking care of your basic needs. Sleep well, eat nourishing foods and drink lots of water. Spend some time with your family and friends and people who rejuvenate you.

 

When all else fails, just take a deep breath and remember we are all in this together. The road ahead is long but there is finally hope for a better future, a future where Palestinians from the river to the sea are free. The seeds of change are being planted today and I cannot wait to see them bloom.

A marketeer by profession, Zaina has spent her career building her understanding of humans and how to sell to them with the hopes of one day selling more than her marketing expertise but rather her life experience. Talented with words, writing has always been a side hobby with many pieces hidden in her notes app read only by those close to her. Zaina is now working on co-creating with the universe a life where writing can be more than just a hobby.