Talking about the work of the anti-sexual violence movement can be awkward and uncomfortable for some – especially during high-profile or much talked-about cases. Even as we love members of our family and friendship circles, comments and discussions can still bring up frustrations and feelings we’d rather not express. While we rarely get a “break” from our work – even for the holidays – it is important we take this time to rest and re-energize as much as possible so we can be of service to others.
Here are a few ideas for keeping ourselves well and calm this holiday season:
• Embrace the awkward. A few years ago, GLAAD organized a campaign for talking about LGBT community rights and activism. They gave some great advice: share your story. Sharing your story can help others sit in some discomfort and see opportunities to change or grow. People don’t know what they don’t know. Share some successes or hopeful changes you’ve seen this year – things you are grateful for. Highlight Eli Manning and other NFL players’ involvement in the No More campaign or recent changes around campus sexual assault.
• Or…embrace silence. Pick your battles, so to speak. Is a heated debate going to contribute or detract from your sense of calm and safety? Focus on your well-being and acknowledge that every conversation isn’t a healthy one. It is OK to say “I’m not going to change your mind and you’re not going to change mine.” to relatives attempting to engage you in debate. You do incredible work every day. Know that you make a difference even if you cannot convince Uncle Henry to stop victim-blaming.
• Connect with a trusted friend, partner, or family member ahead of time. This person (or persons) can be your connection to wellness. Set a time to chat, email, or text each day you will be with your family. This is a great way to start the day or have something to look forward to at the end of the day.
• Move your body. It could be a trip around the block after dinner or in the early morning or a gentle yoga sequence before bed. Moving our bodies relieves stress and releases feel-good hormones throughout our body.
• Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Check out the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Feel Good Tumblr page for images, quotes, and videos to brighten your day.
This one is our personal favorite: