I’m tired. The kind of tired that creeps into your bones and doesn’t leave you even after a full night’s sleep (not that I’m getting much of that). My brain swirls with ideas, concepts, prospective business models, feelings of inadequacy and more on a near constant basis, like an ocean-- ubiquitous and all at once. I am neither a stranger toward this type of tiredness, nor the racing thoughts that accompany it, however I feel like this time is different. The stakes here are higher.
Usually, when I am feeling such levels of overwhelming stress and exhaustion, it has something to do with my classwork, an upcoming homework deadline, or during exam time. This time, my stress stems from the emotional burden of knowing what’s at stake, should I perceive my work here as a failure. Moreover, I find myself fatigued from absorbing and collecting accounts of daily injustices faced by the Bangalore community. For example, today myself and the rest of Team Biome had the opportunity to visit a school in rural Bangalore-- this was the first chance we had to interview and analyze a government-aided school, which did not have a rainwater harvesting system and was fully reliant on tanker water for all of their daily needs. After talking with a teacher and the school’s headmaster, we learned that the tanker water is not always reliable, and the teachers themselves have to pay out of pocket everyday to ensure water is available to their students. They had also been waiting on a promised rainwater harvesting system for over a year already. Examples like this are not uncommon, and represent an unfortunate reality in Bangalore and across India.
It feels selfish to talk about how overwhelmed and tired I am, and even more selfish to go on and partially attribute these feelings to the work that I set out to do. However, further reflection and a quick google search using keywords like, “stress,” and, “activism,” reveal that I am not alone in my feelings and it is not uncommon for people working in the same arena to fall prey to these feelings; in fact, it’s actually so common that there’s an entire section of the internet dedicated to stress, burnout, and well-being of social activists.
If nothing else, this serves as a reminder that although the stakes are higher here in Bangalore, the stress and exhaustion associated still needs to be managed. Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. In fact, I implore my fellow GCIL family to take a moment to catch your breath, practice whatever self-care looks like to you, and then get back to changing the world.