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Why Human Rights Advocates Need to Take Breaks - Barker Olmsted

Why Human Rights Advocates Need to Take Breaks

August 16, 2021

changwook

Human rights advocates are constantly working to ensure justice for people. They work hard and advocate all day long. However, this can take a toll on their health and well-being. This is why they must take breaks from time to time. In this blog post, we’ll be going over the importance of taking a break for human rights lawyers and activists!

Human rights advocates are often passionate about their work and spend a lot of time doing it.

Such a commitment often takes its toll on the family, friends, and personal lives of those working in this field. Taking breaks now and then is necessary for these professionals to keep their sanity and mental health intact.

To stay healthy while working tirelessly towards the common goal of achieving justice, human rights advocates must take time for themselves. Breaks can be as simple as catching up with an old friend or spending one weekend day at home watching movies. Whatever the break entails, it should allow them to recharge their batteries and make them feel relaxed again.

Overwork can lead to burnout, which can make them less effective as an advocate.

The late American professor of social work Richard Sennett once said, “How we spend our days is how we live our lives.” This quote speaks to the importance of taking a break for lawyers and human rights advocates. In an interview with CNN, he explained that overworking can lead to burnout which means they are less effective advocates.

The pressure of the job and working long hours, and dealing with many difficult situations can be too much for some. You will not be an effective advocate if you can’t take care of yourself. Being effective in what you do always starts with being healthy and taking care of your mental health.

Why Human Rights Advocates Need to Take Breaks

Human rights advocates need breaks because they are more effective as an advocate if they take time for themselves. In addition, the pressure of a job that includes long hours in difficult situations can be too much for some people, which means that their effectiveness as an advocate is reduced.

Most human rights activists don’t take breaks when they are committed to taking on the cause. Still, when this deep emotional commitment turns into exhaustion and burnout, it becomes necessary for them to stop working for a time to recover their health and go back with renewed energy. Lousy decision-making is the effect when you burn out from what you do, and you’ll end up compromising all your work.

Lawyers also need breaks to keep their sanity and be effective advocates for their clients. Still, they often forget about the value of taking a break because they are so focused on what they are doing now that they neglect future consequences. But there is evidence from both research studies and anecdotal reports given by lawyers themselves that if you take time for yourself, you are more likely to be able to maintain your effectiveness and make better decisions.

Some of the other benefits of taking a break include:

  • Improved mental health
  • Increased creativity and innovation
  • Better relationships with people around you (including clients)
  • More effective advocacy work after time away from it

Breaks also help people reconnect with themselves and the world around them.

Breaks are essential, especially when you hit a choke point and need to find a new perspective. Leaves give the mind and body time to repair themselves, recharge their batteries, and rebalance their energies after intense work or study periods. It could help you see other things and notice the little things you are missing when you get stuck and can’t move forward.

Breaks help you to have a fresh start with your mind and body.

I think that if human rights advocates take more breaks, they will be able to enjoy their work much more than when it is just an obligation or duty. They’ll also find new ways of looking at problems because time away from the problem increases clarity about what needs to be done.

Take a break from your advocacy by spending some time outdoors or focusing on other activities you enjoy, like painting or reading.

If you work as a lawyer or human rights advocate, you must take time off from your advocacy now and then. This is to give yourself the necessary mental break from the demanding nature of working in this field and maintain your physical health. Spending too much time on one activity can lead to chronic stress.

 

Some example of what you could do for your break is a nice walk on the beach or camping. However, ensure you bring along a metal detector for treasure hunting.  There’s this rewarding feeling you’ll get when you find something with it. You can decide to go with a gold metal detector. Who knows, you might hit some gold which is the most exciting treasure to find as a detectorist.

 

The main point is that human rights advocates may have to take a break from their activism for mental health reasons. Mental illness is genuine and can be made worse by the stress of social work, so it’s essential that they know this and that they are surrounded by people who care about them. Supporting a human rights activist with mental illness does not mean being an enabler–it means giving them support to help prevent worsening symptoms or even suicide.

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