Recovering From Advocacy Burnout

Advocacy burnout can look different for different people.

Burnout can present itself in many different ways. Some possible signs of rare disease advocacy burnout can include excessive fatigue, lack of motivation, avoidance of topics relating to rare diseases, overusing alcohol or other mood-altering substances, mood swings, cynicism, and feeling like you're observing your life instead of actually living it.

What advocacy burnout looks like in me

For me, advocacy burnout hits me hard and doesn't let up until I address it. My symptoms of advocacy burnout can look like intense bouts of anger or depression and neglecting myself physically.

Personal physical neglect includes not bathing myself daily, not taking walks or spending time in nature (which is vital for my own mental and physical health), staying in pajamas all day every day, and more.

Recovery from burnout

Advocacy burnout recovery also looks different for different people.

Since advocacy burnout is different for each individual, so is recovery from said burnout. There are many different routes for addressing burnout. Not all of these burnout recovery strategies are straightforward, but they can be helpful in different ways that add up over time.

Take time to rest up

Hey, remember that we are actually living with chronic illness? Rest is absolutely necessary for us! For me, taking time to rest can look like taking extra naps throughout the day, going to bed early, and getting up later than normal. This is probably one of the more direct strategies for recovering from rare disease advocacy burnout.

Express yourself artistically

Art can be a powerful way to replenish yourself emotionally. Some ways that I like to express myself artistically include writing poetry, painting, crafting, and many more! Expressing myself through art really helps me to come back to myself. It also helps me feel accomplished, seeing a completed work of art that I created with my own hands. It's empowering, really.

Try out new hobbies and master old skills

Do you have an old crafting project sitting in your closet? This would be the time to get it out and finish it! Brushing up on old skills and finishing projects helps me feel accomplished in a unique way, different from when I complete projects in other areas of my life (such as professional).

If you'd prefer to learn a new skill, this is a great time to do so as well! Burnout can make me feel like life is not exciting or worth investing in. Learning new skills can be a great way to invest in yourself and even help increase feelings of self-worth and accomplishment.

Visit new places

Is there a new coffee shop in town? Go check it out! Is there an art installation at a museum you'd like to see? Maybe spend an afternoon at the museum, taking time to absorb the different mediums artists use, the different backgrounds they come from, or the different subjects they focus on. All of these can result in a paradigm shift and contribute to burnout recovery.

Say 'NO!'

It can be difficult to say 'no' to new rare disease advocacy projects because there is always work to be done in our communities. It's important to remember that slow, sustainable change is most effective. Saying 'no' to others means that you can say 'yes' to yourself.

Check in with yourself

Avoid advocating again until you feel you can handle it without harming yourself mentally. Journal on the subject. What parts of advocacy are feeling like too much right now? Are there areas in your life that you need more support?

Check in with your community

Is there anyone that can help pick up slack where you are in lack? We are all in this together. Community care is a beautiful thing.

This or That

Do you consider yourself an advocate for a rare disease?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.