• Christinne Rudd

Stress Management Tips for the Self-Advocate


Disability advocacy can be a long and sometimes daunting task. Often, we don’t consider the toll it can take on our health from day to day.

The effects of your advocacy efforts are worth it but it’s important to maintain your physical and mental well-being in the process. In advocacy, there are often multiple steps and chains of command to follow before reaching the desired goal. In the midst of all those details, it’s easy to forget it can be as exhausting as it is rewarding and has the potential to take a toll on our health without any warning. Additionally, it's no secret that people with disabilities are more prone to secondary health conditions that are preventable than those without a disability. What follows are some ideas to help you manage the stress that can be associated with advocating for an issue.

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. No matter what your physical ability, there’s something for everyone. If this is a strategy you’d like to use to help manage the effects of your advocacy efforts, don’t forget to consult your medical provider first.

Spending time with friends and family is also a great way to relieve stress because they can often provide the emotional support you need. While spending time with your family, you’ll also be making memories and strengthening those family bonds.

Maintaining a healthy diet is another way to manage our overall health. There are plenty of heathy food items that some say also help reduce stress and other ailments.

Pleasure reading is a great way to reduce stress as well as use your imagination to be transported to another place and time. They also say reading helps people fall asleep faster so it could also help you get much needed rest to rejuvenate from a long day.

Journaling gives you a private place to express your feelings. It may even give you an outlet to figure out new strategies to resolve your advocacy issue because you’ve gotten the creative juices flowing.

Cooking has also been shown to positively impact different aspects of a person’s health. Putting together a meal either for yourself or for other people can result in a sense of accomplishment, is a way to boost your creativity, and most importantly, enjoy the final product. These are all ways to help boost self-esteem, a helpful tool in the arsenal of advocating for an issue.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of activities to help reduce stress and take care of yourself, with hope, it will get people thinking about how to use the downtime that comes with advocacy in a fun and productive way. The most important thing to do is take care of yourself while you keep your eye on the goal and the positive impact it will have on your life and the lives of others with disabilities. Not only will you feel good about the difference you’ve made in your life but the whole experience may also help you become that much healthier, it’s a win-win all the way around.

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Florida Self-Advocacy Central is the news and information arm of Florida Self-Advocates Network'D or FL SAND

FL SAND and Florida Self-Advocacy Central are projects provided by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc., supported in part by grant numbers 1801FLBSDD, 1901FLSCDD-01, and 2001FLSCDD-01 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.