Sometimes it’s necessary to take a break to recover and to reflect on what you are doing. It is important to pay daily attention to one’s well-being in terms of healthy nutrition, enough sleep, regular sports and relaxation time. But sometimes it just happens that a day gets more stressful than anticipated. Then we don’t pay the necessary attention to ourselves. This can be the case several days or even weeks and months in a row. Then taking a break becomes urgent.
Sometimes it’s enough to take one day to recover and reflect, sometimes it takes longer. Even when we do not feel stressed, we should halt and consider if we are still on the right track. A walk through the woods can help, for example.
Reflecting, stepping back and taking a break can be very difficult, at least for me. Looking at (systematic) sustainability issues each day during work and often during free time, can leave one really exhausted. It is not always easy to be optimistic when looking at problems and, therefore, it is important to look at promising solutions.
People in your surrounding can also get tired of hearing about these issues or of you dealing with these issues. It is not rare that people fighting for positive change are attacked verbally and in some places even physically (in extremes, e.g. nature conservationists, rangers and journalists are killed for their brave work). So these people need to be strong, take their breaks, reflect on their strategies and actions, align their communication and look for courage. The challenges are similar no matter if people are engaged for mitigating climate change, stopping biodiversity loss, achieving social justice, democratic rights, gender equality or whatsoever. In fact, all these and further topics are parts of real sustainability in my opinion and (should) go hand in hand.
Yesterday, I was at a talk where the new book of Christian Felber was introduced. He is known as the founder of the Economy for the Common Good (https://www.ecogood.org/en/) and his new book is called “This is not economy”. It deals with the issues that current economist research, practices and teaching create through their values of profit as well as personal interest maximization, GDP growth, materialism and mathematical ‘wisdom’. He therefore explains how this system should be changed in order to achieve real human goals of social justice, healthy environment, purposeful lives, empathy, cooperation, etc.
During the evening, one of the other speakers used a quote which I liked. It can help to be hopeful when fighting for important changes such as the ones mentioned before. It is often attributed to Gandhi, although there is seemingly no proof of this. I am not quite sure after some search, but it is not that important.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
The quote means for me that as soon as other people take you serious enough and fight you, you are close to winning. Then you should keep going to achieve your goal. Sustainability activists are in the third stage now. I am definitely not one of the most public and intensive fighters for positive change, but there is a range of similar problems. (The others have more pressure as they have more public attention and opponents to deal with.) However, it is important that everyone finds a way to handle the pressure and still keep working for the good cause. For this, you need regular breaks and reflection time as stated before. The more energetic we are, the easier we can win other people to join us. The more people join, the easier it will get and the closer to victory we will all come.
To ensure that I stay motivated and positive, I will go and do yoga now 😀
Source of header image: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5798/30014616751_d5b70ff6e1_b.jpg