Looking after your wellbeing, asking for your friends support, and being a helpful support person

– This article talks about  some of the manifestations of anxiety, depression and burnout and could be triggering. It might be a good idea to read it with support and friends and comfy pillows around-

So our WASEN (and extended) crew included a bunch of maggotheads that had been working and sometimes living pretty closely with each other. Perhaps we had pushed ourselves and our relationships too far; certainly burnout was an issue for most of us and at times communication was frustrated and underused. We needed a weekend away together in the bush to hang out, cook, play, breathe and do some workshops that would help us understand where we are at and how we can support each other. The Totally Rad Skillshare was conceived and this workshop based on self-reflection and sharing was created.

– This article has been structured so you can go through it on your own and ask your self the questions, and maybe let a friend know some of the answers. It has also been written so that others can take it, mess it around and use it with their mob. We thought we would leave our names in to show how we broke down the co-facilitation and kinda make it more personal. We aimed for about 65 minutes. –

DOM      GOAL: Introduce people to the intention of the workshop.

I’m sure you’ve all heard heaps of really great advice about how to lead a more balanced life, how to work at a level that’s more sustainable and prevent burn out; but there’s a big difference between knowing what to do (or the general idea of what to do) and actually doing it. And the only person who can live your life is you. We all have really diverse experiences and different issues that affect the sustainability of our work and activism and our lives. Some things will work for some people and not for others. Yet while we are all unique, there are many common threads in all our experiences so that we are able to relate to each other. No one can tell us how to be more sustainable in our activism, but we can all share knowledge and  understanding; from other people, from literature, and from personal experiences. The aim of today is to do this in a safe, supportive, open, creative space such that this process may be empowering for us to realise how we can recognise what’s going on inside ourselves, improve our wellbeing and avoid burnout. Ahem a lot of this workshop is based on others before it, from somewhere, probs asen or the change agency but we can’t find the original so can’t thank them DODGY! ASEN and The Change Agency have websites that are easy to use and have heaps of hott resources and workshop structures fyi http://www.thechangeagency.org/ and http://asen.pbworks.com/ISMzine

If facilitating: Go through the agenda.
~5 minutes~

NAE              GOAL: Reflect on what makes a supportive and frustrating listener for                you and others.

“Think about a time when you have talked to someone and found it a negative experience, what were the problems? Think about another time that felt positive, what felt good about it.”

If facilitating: Snowball, which means to write both experiences down on separate pieces of paper, screw them up and chuck them in the middle of the circle. Each person picks up a couple from the middle and reads them out in turn, giving space for discussion.

~15 minutes~

DOM       GOAL: identify for yourself how you look when you are unbalanced / burning out; let someone/s know the things you want them to know.

This bit can be done whilst lying on your back, to encourage introspection and concentration. “What do you do when you are going through a tough time? These first things I mention could be thought of as problem distancing, and can be helpful for getting perspective etc; do you withdraw and push people away, go on a holiday, cut yourself, eat lots of food, bite your nails, take drugs. These examples can be thought of as problem solving; explaining your boundaries or feelings to someone, meditation/relaxation, exercise, reducing your work load, strategic planning (where you want to go, what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it).”

If you are doing this by yourself it’s a good idea to write these things down so that you can refer back to it at a later date.

If facilitating: very slowly go through the list of things folks might do. Then, ask people to find a partner they feel comfortable with and share what they want to. You can also come back to a group circle and ask people to share one or two things with the big group they are comfortable sharing, we think this can help people feel they are not alone in having things they do when they feel stressed.

~15 minutes~

NAE          GOAL: identify what you need when you are burning out or burnt out.

“Think about the things you need for a balanced life, which might include: good food, enough sleep, connection with others, laughter, play, meaningful work. How can you, with the support of friends, ensure you have these things in your life?”

If facilitating: this is a paired listening exercise with a report back to the big group.

~10 minutes~

Might be an idea to write this down on a bit of paper if doing this alone by making two columns. One column listing the things I do when burning out and things that I need to regain my balance, decorate it and put it somewhere you will see it regularly.

NAE    GOAL: share knowledge of alternative cure options to draw on when feeling unbalanced.

“What is a herb or some other weird thing you know that helps with stress/ balance, what is it good for, and how do you prepare it?”
~10 minutes~

DOM     GOAL: De-pack; reflect on what you have learnt and give feedback to organisers on how it could be improved.

If facilitating: round robin, “what was one thing you enjoyed, one thing that bugged you, and one thing you may incorporate into your life?”

~10 minutes~

If you run something based on this or have questions/suggestions, please contact us at Dominique.lieb@gmail.com

From some learners who want to share

Renae n Dom