|Posted on July 21, 2018 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
When looking for some articles and studies on “burnout,” I went through pages and pages of the Google site, looking for articles that would be relevant to those who are in the struggle against anti-animal legislation. I looked for articles that mentioned the overwhelming fatigue experienced when supporting animal owners who are being harassed by animal rights groups or blocking cyber bullies who are attacking an innocent animal owner. There are “burnout” articles for burnt-out physicians, animal right activists, teachers, social workers, clergymen and many, many more professions. There was no reference to those of us who work with, and support, innocent victims who have had their animals seized by overreaching government or nongovernmental organizations
We also get overtired and discouraged. We also feel as if we are on duty 24/7. It also seems that the harder we work, the more we are asked. There is days that our hands shake just thinking about one more animal interest that is under attack. We begin to dread the morning in which we are faced with even more letters to write about one more unjust seizure—one more proposed bill that whittles away at our freedoms with animals.
Many of us also work at rehoming animals. The same frustrations that “rescuers” get are compounded as we are continually defending the right to breed our purebred animals.
Welfare activists (welfare, NOT rights) have another problem that continues to grow. Apathy is our scourge. No matter how we encourage or plead for action, animal owners turn a deaf ear. When an alert is out for support, volunteer to create a letter, attend a meeting, or finish that project for which they volunteered months ago, we hear crickets. When we get overtired, and over-frustrated, tensions rise and infighting in, and between, good groups increase.
With the fast-paced instant response world of today, more and more welfare activists are giving up, thinking that it’s hopeless. More and more good people have lost their passion to fight the animal rights extremists and fade away from those who are continuing.
Since I began feeling most of those same thoughts, I thought that writing about it and quoting some of what I found may be of help to others and myself.
As usual, I found just the exact article I wanted at the NAIA website. http://www.naiaonline.org. I took the liberty of changing some words (all in parentheses) in this wonderful advice to fit the Animal Welfarist in danger of burning out. The rest of this article may be found at:
• Take care of yourself first. You're no good to anyone or anything if you're tired, miserable, broke, or angry all the time. Neglecting your own needs makes you less effective, not more. You deserve to eat and sleep well, to be healthy, to have fun and be happy as much as anyone else.
• Look at your situation and compare it to where you want to be. What are your true personal priorities in life? Make a list of them beginning with those most important to you. Are the ones at the top of your list getting the largest amount of your time and resources? If not, rearrange your time so they are.
• What activities besides rescue (Animal Welfare/Legislation) do you enjoy most? Do you (or did you) have a hobby? Make another list. Do something from that list every day. It doesn't have to be a big thing; it can be as small as reading a few pages of a novel or taking a walk with your dog. The important thing is to make time every day to do something that makes you happy. Don't put this off until you have time - make time! This little daily break will do wonders for your attitude and well-being.
• Take at least one day a week off from rescue (Animal Welfare/ Legislation). Do whatever you want or need to do on that day as long as it doesn't involve rescue (Animal Welfare/Legislation). Even shelter employees (AKC GR staff) have days off and so should you!
• Stay connected to the 'real' world. Some volunteers get so deeply involved with rescue (Animal Welfare/Legislation), they isolate themselves and develop a very narrow negative mindset. Read books and newspapers, visit with non-rescue friends, go places, and meet new people.
A couple more articles that had bits and pieces that was helpful.
Satisficing: How Overachievers Stay Sane and Avoid Burn-Out
4 Red Flags That You’re Headed for Burnout
Scribbles for P4PO