We are getting ready to enter another year. And while so many of us will begin setting resolutions that revolve around bettering ourselves (as we should, and Messy Mindfulness gives some tips on how to do just that), there are some things that we will fail to consider. It was not until 2020 that I realized that part of supporting my well-being is expanding my knowledge and reconsidering where my efforts go.
I am speaking to social justice. I know this is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of New Year’s Resolutions, however, it can be something empowering and powerful. I am all for creating goals that put our mental health and well-being forward and I think goals revolving around social justice compliment this.
Not only are we contributing to creating a safer, more welcoming environment for everyone, but we are finding purpose beyond ourselves. Now, I know the idea of fighting for a world that recognizes and prioritizes effective justice, inclusion, diversity, and equity feels really overwhelming. This feeling often discourages us from doing anything at all. But effective efforts are not just organizing a march in Washington or raising millions of dollars, they are the “small” things, as well.
First, before I even define what these “small” things can be, I do think it is important to focus the majority of your energy into one to three social justice issues. This does not mean ignoring all others, it just means not actively seeking them out. The majority of my follow-through and follow-ups are centered around Black Lives Matters, specifically in regard to police brutality, political reform, such as voting rights, and educational reform. While I am also incredibly passionate about things such as climate change or protection for trans men and women, this is often something I educate myself in, but choose actions that do not require as much thought, such as signing up for regular monthly donations, eating plant-based meals a few days a week, go thrifting, rather than using fast fashion, and so on.
Although I do think it is important to remain educated and up to date on as many subjects as possible, I also do not think this is sustainable for ensuring effective change and can put one’s mental health at risk. So, once you have decided what you truly want to focus upon as of now, you can determine three to five small actions to take in support of said focus. For example, maybe this year you want to become more environmentally conscious. Some “small” actions may be eating plant based for three meals a week, limiting waste, recycling more, donating old clothing items, and more.
The reality is the more taxing and complicated we make social justice seem, the harder it is to engage and connect with it. Our actions, no matter how small they may feel, make a difference. You are capable of making an impact, even if it doesn’t feel like a giant one.