Across the country, as Confederate monuments are toppled, Black Lives Matter murals painted across major streets, and in the best cases, individuals in power are held accountable for their actions and forced to face the consequences, it may seem like the need for constant activism is dwindling. Not so.
Though media coverage of protests has subsided, protestors on the frontlines still encounter scrutiny every day. In light of all of this, it may seem like keeping the fight going can be the furthest thing from beneficial to your wellness.
But with the right attitude and the willingness to give up some time, activism can be life-changing and beneficial for your health, and now is the time to act.
1. You can interact with others.
For many still experiencing the isolation of quarantine, social interaction is at a premium. While a protest or march is not an excuse to engage in potentially hazardous behavior (always wear a mask!), it is an excellent way to engage with others—friends and strangers.
If for any reason you are unable to go out, there are many ways you can contribute to the fight for justice from the comfort of your own home: donating money, signing a petition, or just amplifying activists’ voices on social media are all essential pieces of a movement.
2. A common cause is a good way to bond with others.
There is something indescribably powerful about contributing to something bigger than yourself. Activism gives everyone involved a common cause to have a set of goals to strive towards. Though the inconveniences of modern life can seem like enough to deal with on a daily basis, the smallest victory in the fight for a common goal can work miracles.
3. It can actually increase your happiness.
The benefits of altruism on your mental health are well-documented. In addition to increasing your personal happiness and self-esteem, helping others can go a long way towards putting your own life and issues into perspective. And the effects can last long after a protest is over or a statue comes down.
4. It can educate you about important things.
While helping others is an important part of being an activist, just as important is educating yourself on the systemic flaws that have led to this movement; and how, if at all, you have been complicit in this system. Though the conversations might be tough, the results are worth it. Education is a crucial first step in the fight for change, and a healthy practice for anyone to improve their well-being.
5. It will spread hope.
It’s important to keep hope alive. Hope is the difference between achieving change against seemingly impossible odds, and giving up in the face of overwhelming adversity. Hope can make waves not just in the setting of a protest, but in people’s individual lives as well.
As daunting as it seems in the country right now, change is happening. The importance of each activist in this movement cannot be understated. But the potential wellness benefits of activism are important as well. It is not, or rather it doesn’t have to be, solely a selfless act.