Advocates are caregivers and we do lifesaving work, but we work daily with survivors who have been traumatized and are in crisis. It involves us going down that dark hole many survivors are in and being present with them during the difficult days and times of their lives. And the work impacts us. As a rule, advocates take care of everyone else and put taking care of themselves at the bottom of the list. Certainly taking the time to take care of yourself is easier said than done. Making self-care a priority not only keeps you in this movement but also makes you a better advocate.
A good analogy for this is thinking of yourself as a garden. When gardens are neglected and not watered, they may produce some vegetables. But when cultivated, gardens can provide an abundance of nourishment and enjoyment for many people. This concept is the same for you. You may be able to assist others for a short time when not taking care of yourself. You are far more effective in helping others when you are nurturing your own garden. That requires lots of different tools, and lots of attention. The information provided in the Self-Care Corner will help as you tend your own garden and improve your ability to be an effective advocate.