Activist Burnout — Prevention & Treatment: My Talk at SSA Con West 2013

My talk at the Secular Student Alliance convention this year is up on YouTube! The topic: “Activist Burnout — Prevention & Treatment.”

I think a lot of us maybe need to hear this right now. I actually just watched the video myself: I wrote this talk to be as much of a pep talk for myself as it is for the rest of the movement, and I, for one, really needed to hear it tonight.

This, by the way, is the talk that includes my analog PowerPoint slide… which became a trope/ running joke throughout the rest of the conference.

Topics I touch on include: taking care of your health; carving out a life separate from activism; finding forms of activism you like to do — and letting that change as your life changes; just saying “No” to projects; and more. The talk is aimed at atheist activists, and somewhat particularly at student atheist activists… but I think it’s probably applicable to almost any social change activist, in any field. Plus — analog PowerPoint slide! Enjoy!

Activist Burnout — Prevention & Treatment: My Talk at SSA Con West 2013
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6 thoughts on “Activist Burnout — Prevention & Treatment: My Talk at SSA Con West 2013

  1. 3

    Thanks, Greta, for your talk, where you said:

    the mantra I repeated again and again was, “Self Care Is Not Selfish.”

    I felt you made a very valid point, that is applicable in many areas. Also, it reminded me of what they say on airplanes. In case of loss of cabin pressure, masks will drop down. Put your OWN mask on first, before assisting others.

    So in general, our first duty is to make sure we don’t pass out before we can do anything to help others.

  2. 4


    You’ve just reminded me I need to revive my new year resolution from a couple of years ago: “Don’t get sucked into stupid arguments on the internet.”

    Which is not to say arguments about social justice are stupid (although some of the participants …), but it’s easy when you care passionately about something to get sucked into reading and responding to massive comment threads of d00m, getting more and more upset and frustrated, until suddenly you realise you’ve stayed up half the night and have to go to work in the morning … and won’t sleep anyway because of something some random clueless dudebro half a world away said just to wind you up.

    So yeah, learning to let that go has been an essential part of my self-care plan, and I need to remember that.

  3. 6

    Good. I don’t know how one does it if one is in a targeted-by-the-NSA/CIA/FBI situation, though. It becomes impossible to have a separate life from activism (they don’t let you). Tell me if you find out.

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