3 Advocate Mindset Shifts to Help You Avoid Burnout
RAFT Team, February 8, 2021
As an advocate, you know you’re doing important work. Necessary work. But during these pandemic days, compassion fatigue and burnout are lurking at the door and you’re probably more focused on daily survival than contemplating your long-term viability as an advocate. There are things you can do today to set yourself up for long-term success as you stand in the gap for survivors. These won’t take much extra effort. Yes, they’ll require a shift in mindset, a willingness to be flexible and take it slow, and a determination to make life a bit more joyful. If you’re game for these advocate mindset shifts, keep reading.
Shift Your Mindset
There’s no denying that life is complicated. Nor that you’re busy. One of the biggest advocate mindset shifts you can make is to acknowledge that you’re handling a lot right now, but you’re making it. Some days it may feel like it’s only by the skin of your teeth, but you keep getting up and you keep trying. That’s worth a pause and a “well done” to yourself. Right now. Go ahead and address yourself by name and say, “[Name], well done.”
Another advocate mindset shift is to remind yourself that you can make a difference, but you can’t fix it all. You’re an advocate, so you have high expectations — of what you have time for, what you’re capable of, and who you can support. High expectations keep you going and make you push hard. But you can’t forget that you can’t do it all in one day. You can’t say yes to every need that crosses your desk. To every friend who needs to meet this week. To everything that must be done at home.
Remember that YOU need to be at the top of your priority list. And because you’re an advocate, this probably makes you cringe. You’re used to giving. It’s part of your identity to be there for everyone and everything. But you can’t serve others when you’re running on empty. Self-care is vital for everyone, but especially for people like you who thrive on helping others. It’s ingrained in your DNA to jump first when there’s a need. Keep reminding yourself that you are human, and you must take time to refuel your body, mind, and spirit.
Embrace Slow Progress
If there were a secret pill that could instantly turn you into a superhuman, you’d down it in a heartbeat. And as nice of a thought as that is, it’s unrealistic. So you must stop living like it’s true. It takes strength to go slow, to take one baby step at a time. To leave room for growth. To let the seed of who you’re becoming grow into a strong, vibrant life giving plant. Have courage to say no to a few things so you can get your feet back under you. So you can rest. And then have the strength to start saying yes to the things you love. Learn to stretch in a new direction — one that leans into life-giving self-care, one that allows others to fill in the gaps sometimes.
Gratitude is a habit that takes time to develop. So is a mindset that naturally sees and pursues the good in life. Instead of focusing on the overwhelm and fatigue, look for beauty. Look for peace. Look for the beautiful memory you can hold with you as you move forward. Let this be your new routine.
When you over-commit and fall behind, do the best you can and then look for ways you can readjust your expectations so your days have more peace. When you crawl into bed, even if you know you won’t get enough sleep, choose to be thankful for the rest you do get. Then plan for a way you can get a little more sleep the next night. Anticipate it all day.
These little advocate mindset shifts can carry you through your day with a greater sense of peace. If you keep choosing this mindset, you’ll likely start to encounter less and less chaos both internally and in your day-to-day life.
Joy is a choice. Gratitude is a vehicle we can drive to get there. And a renewed mindset helps make the journey more pleasant.