Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Balancing Your Life: Saving the World and Taking Care of Yourself at the Same Time

Many people talk about work-life balance, but the concept of work-life balance is slightly different for animal rights activists and compassionate vegans. You see, people almost always become activists because they care about something deeply. The boundaries between "work" and "life" are blurred, and that's probably a good thing, too: when your work becomes a relevent part of your life, you're more likely to enjoy the work you do and live by your values. Some activists feel guilty about stopping to relax and take care of themselves when there are so many animals suffering in the world. On the other hand, other people want to help animals, but they're too caught up in their own bubble of problems and concerns that they feel they just can't reach outside of themselves to make a difference.
It's important to retain a healthy balance between activism/volunteerism and taking care of yourself and your relationships without neglecting one or the other.

Take time to help the animals!
If you want to make a difference but feel too caught up in other things to have time to help animals, please re-evaluate your priorities. Making a difference doesn't have to be a huge commitment. It can be something as simple as a blog (like this one!-- which is remarkably easy to upkeep, by the way) or going leafleting once a month. It's so easy nowadays to get brainwashed by this crazy consumer culture that tells you to only care about yourself-- your comfort, your money, your happiness, your health, your date, your stuff, your weight loss plan, etc. Think about it-- how many hours a day do you spend focusing on helping yourself? How many hours a day do you spend helping humans/animals/the environment?
...It can be pretty surprising just how easy it is to get swept away on the "me-me-me" bandwagon. While you shouldn't neglect yourself (and, sometimes, people in poor financial or health situations need to devote all their energy and time to simply surviving, and I don't blame them for that), please remember to take the time to reach outside of yourself to help others if you can. Not only is it simply a good thing to do, it's also good for you!

Take time to help yourself!
That being said, some activists may feel like they can't stop trying to help animals. It simply makes them feel too guilty to stop-- there are, after all, billions of animals imprisoned and killed each year in the animal industries. It's great that you want to help animals-- I do, too!-- but make sure that you keep yourself healthy and sane while you're at it. If you eat nothing but veggie burgers on white bread and potato chips because you're too busy trying to save animals to prepare real food, eventually your health will probably fail. Then you won't be able to help animals very much, which is bad for the animals (and you'll probably become very unhappy!).

Have a great, balanced week!

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