It’s no secret that the world is a dark place.
In the wake of recent political events, activists of all walks of life are feeling the repercussions on their mood I’m sure.
Yesterday I wrote about the importance of art in activism. I touched upon how there’s no reason to feel that being artist is pointless.
Today I want to talk about how being vegan feels pointless and rightly so and what can be done about it.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been vegan for a hot minute or years, you can most definitely feel the effects of a “vegan burnout” at any time.
It can take you to new depths of despair, contemplating everything that is wrong in the world and having to add the plight of animals to the mix.
There’s a price to pay for caring too much.
Sadness, anger, bouts of righteous unwanted vegan militant-ism and the worse; giving up altogether on morals are all symptoms of a vegan burnout.
You may want to stop associating with people. Going out to eat at the burger joint with friends is just too much for your soul.
I understand. I’ve been there.
I’ve been vegan for a few years now and I’ve had bouts of difficult times.
I still get symptoms of vegan burnout once in a while. It happened to me very recently when a long time vegan I looked up to, someone I thought was a great activist, turned his back on the animals to literally face (and eat) their dismembered body parts.
I thought if this of all things can happen, is there any hope at all?
While I’m still clueless and astonished that people can go back to (or never stop) gorging on something that is the result of cruelty and death, I’ve been feeling a bit better.
If you’re feeling a bit like you’re having a vegan burnout or you’re actually down there at the bottom of a negative feelings well, I’d like to help you.
Here are a few things that have made a difference for me:
1- Finding solace with like-minded people
First, know that you’re not alone in feeling this way. Even though some people leave veganism or never give it a try, there is a growing community of people who think just like you.
It’s worth reaching out to them, you won’t find a more compassionate ear than a vegan one!
2- Celebrating the little victories
For me it was receiving a Subway ad that made the promotion of the vegan Italian bread. It may seem insignificant but if you add them up, little things like that show that change is indeed happening.
Look around, it may not be obvious at first but if you pay attention you will eventually see all those little victories.
3- Focusing on what you can change
Dwelling on negative feelings is not good in any situation. Sometimes the solution is as simple as turning to action.
While I have no control over the terrible things people do, I can put my own actions forward and focus on the things I can change or get better at.
For me it means getting my words and values out there into the world and supporting the causes and businesses that go in line with them.
4- Making time to distract yourself
It may seem counter intuitive to want to take time away from the issues that matter the most to you but there is no point in letting your anguish over things you can’t ultimately control ruin your mood.
It’s ok to stop watching vegan themed videos or any animal rights content if your mood is already low.
There’s lots of fun vegan things you can do that doesn’t involve thinking about the suffering of animals.
I personally enjoy trying out new recipes. Ice cream and brownies totally help too!
Have you ever dealt with a vegan burnout?
What are your tips and tricks to feel better?
I’d love to know in the comments!
*Picture Credit: Anton Vakulenko Flickr Creative Commons 2.0