Social Workers and allies of all professions have been working on all fronts to resist injustice and encourage massive voter turnout for the midterm elections. November 6, 2018, is fast approaching and collectively, as social workers, we have been “all in” doing what we do best- advocating for systemic change. Whether or not this country experiences a “Blue Wave”, the next morning- November 7, 2018, will arrive. What then, and what comes next? What can we do to help ourselves sustain our energy, commitment and focus until the next election? If we find ourselves disappointed by the midterm’s election results, what are ways we can avoid the crushing disappointment and immense feelings of the letdown that occurred following the election results of 2016? If we are elated, how can we sustain energy over time? This week’s chat will help us prepare ourselves what lies ahead. As social workers, How can we work smarter and not harder for the changes we work so hard to accomplish?
Inspired by the Americans of Conscience Action Checklist, https://americansofconscience.com, here are 4 suggestions for moving forward after the midterm elections of 2018: 1.) Choose your top 3 activism priorities, 2.) Create and revise Self-care practices 3.) Remember to express gratitude for the progress made in the midst of struggle, and 4.) Choose hope over apathy and despair. 5.) Stay flexible and connected.
Narrowing our focus in terms of activism helps to prevent overwhelm and burnout, and gives a clearer sense of accomplishment. When we narrow our focus, it becomes easier to evaluate our progress. Self- care provides energy and helps renew motivation, and allows us to sustain our efforts over time. The idea is to help cultivate our inner strength so we can remain positive and hopeful. Empirical data on the importance of gratitude is an ever-growing field of study and provides evidence of its importance in our lives (www.happierhuman.com/the-science-of-gratitude). What is gratitude? According to Sansone and Sansone, 2010, Gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself and represents a general state of thankfulness and or appreciation. Along with gratitude, having and maintaining a sense of hope is important. Why? Because Hope allows people to approach challenges with more energy, resolve, and a mindset amenable to problem-solving and goal attainment. Finally, one of our biggest resources is who we are as professionals. Continue to network and gain strength from one another.
For this week’s #Macrosw discussion
Q1. What are your current top 3 activism priorities? (What issues are you MOST concerned about today?)
Q2. What actions will you engage in to support the causes listed in Q1? (Describe your advocacy activities – marches, organizing, raising money, contributing money, providing legwork, footwork, providing office space, making calls, sending postcards, etc.)
Q3. What activist and other activities might you have to step back from right now, and why?
Q4. Where are the places you gain strength with one another as you work toward justice, equity and the dignity and worth of all? How can these networks be improved?
Q5. Share resources that are currently helpful in your self-care practice. What do you find helpful now that was not part of your routine this time last year?
Q6. What are you grateful for, and where do you find hope?
Listen to the podcast for this week: