Nowadays, when it comes to being a patient leader, and a builder of online communities, it can be difficult to stay afloat amidst all of the content and the pressure to be constantly available online. It’s natural to want to support other patients, to share your story to make a positive impact, and to be available for every opportunity. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re protecting your physical, mental, and emotional health. The work of a patient leader isn’t always easy, and it can involve dealing with sensitive, and even triggering topics. As such, it’s a natural possibility that you’ll encounter burnout on your advocacy journey. When you’re navigating the challenges of your own health condition, it becomes even more important to ensure that you’re taking care of your health.
To help patient leaders recognize and cope with burnout, we created the following resource with the help of our expert Patient Leader Advisory Board. By following the guide, and incorporating these tactics into your advocacy routine, you’ll be better prepared to navigate and balance the wide world of patient advocacy.
Burnout Infographic by WEGO Health
Click here to download your own copy to keep these reminders handy: Burnout Infographic
💜 Be Compassionate: When it comes to avoiding burnout, it helps to remember the golden rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated, and that means kindly. Practice self-care, and engage in activities that re-energize you. Forgive yourself, and give yourself grace for your successes and your failures alike.
🤗 Ask For Help: You support an entire community, but it works both ways. Consider who can support you in your journey, and ask your community for support. In turn, be open about your needs. Express your feelings, and share that burnout is impacting your mental and physical health. Your community will understand!
✋ Set Boundaries: Set limits on your advocacy work, and even consider stepping away when you need to take a break. More importantly, distance your self-worth from your work. You are more than your progress, your contributions, or your following. Taking a step back can help you recognize and reconnect to your why. Remember that you can always pivot as well, you’re the one driving your advocacy!
Please be sure to explore our Patient Leader Network to start connecting and collaborating with patient leaders across conditions. A special thank you to the patient leaders who contributed to this resource: Dr. Christina Hibbert, Jen Schwartz, Brandy Haberer, Daniel Newman, Damian Washington, For the Breast of Us, Trishna Bharadia, and Cathy Chester.