Effecting change can be exhausting: 5 ways to avoid burnout.
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Right now, we are in a critical moment where more Americans are engaging with the topic of race than ever before.

There is so much work to be done, but people who aren't accustomed to thinking this much about race are struggling to condition themselves. Factor in a global pandemic, economic insecurity, and the stressors of working and schooling from home, and allies are at an increasingly high risk of burnout.

Marginalized and oppressed people need allies to learn to pace themselves. But how?


Upworthy interviewed Tatiana Mac, author of a series of tweets that went viral because she found a way to make a complicated issue coherent and digestible for the masses. She succinctly addressed eight different issues and offers advice, free of charge, for each one.

Tatiana Mac

Mac, a Software Engineer based in Portland, Oregon, describes herself as a "Vietnamese American who has started to unpack my own internalized oppression and simultaneous complicity within white supremacy. I experience racism, but not to the extent that Black folks do."

"I think that, in many ways, it feels like 'white people have entered the chat' on discussions of race," she said. "Panicked and somewhat new to these discussions, it felt like many people were riding the energy and momentum of the movement, but because they were new to these discussions, were flailing and misdirecting their energy.

As with all things in this time and age, I worried that they would go hard for a few weeks, burn out, and we'd go back to letting the status quo dominate." Mac published the tweets to "remind them that this is not a trend, this is not going away, and that if they're interested in being part of the solution, they need to establish long-term strategies and build this work into the fabric of their lives."

Mac isn't alone in these feelings. Norisha Kirts Glover, owner of NRK Construction and President of her local chapter of the Junior League, also thinks we need to be mindful of these efforts. As a Black businesswoman, she is intimately familiar with the racial issues plaguing America. She told Upworthy, "This is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot fix something that is systemic in a short period of time. Instead of trying to fix this today, I would advise people to spend that energy being thoughtful about where they spend their time working towards systemic change."

Norisha Kirts Glover

Glover says that, typically, people are most effective when they're able to pinpoint and carry out action connected to their work or something they are passionate about. "Remember that even when you start to act, it's about pacing yourself," she said. "I have been fighting this my whole life. Be mindful that the burnout that you are feeling is small in comparison to what people have to endure every day."

Burnout looks different for everyone. Here are a few action items based on Mac's list for avoiding burnout, while trying to change the world:

1. You're asking a lot of questions, which is great! It also means that you're receiving a lot of answers, taking in a lot of information and may be overwhelmed.

Burnout bypass: Remember that you can't learn everything all at once. Make a list. Learn to find the answers yourself before asking. Read multiple sources. Sit with it.

2. Somehow, you ended up in three different book clubs, cramming for what feels like the "anti-racist test."

Burnout bypass: Set monthly recurring reminders to write short reflections on mistakes made and lessons learned. See your own progress. Build Black authors into your life, including reading fiction and non-race-based non-fiction.

Photo by Tim Gouw

3. You're confronting people. It's exhausting.

Burnout bypass: You're fired up about change and that's appropriate. But will you still be actively engaged in a few months, when fewer of your peers are? Evaluate your long-term commitments to this work and set realistic goals. Establish vocabulary to address racism.

4. You're making a lot of mistakes right now and it's embarrassing.

Burnout bypass: You're learning a lot of lessons, so sit with them. A lot of people don't make it this far out of fear of embarrassment, so well done! Now, pass your knowledge along to all the people around you, especially the ones who look like you.

5. You're talking to everyone from Twitter trolls to parents, expending energy everywhere, and much of it is wasted.

Burnout bypass: Write scripts about how to confront racism with colleagues, friends and family. Figure out your boundaries, like when you'll walk away.

According to Mac, working alongside people of color requires willingness to "opt in every day, sitting through immense discomfort, and making some embarrassing mistakes." Because of the emotional toil of this work, setting boundaries and keeping a strong vision can hold allies steady. This undertaking can be daunting, but it's also vital to our future generations. And if everyone does something, the changes will be sustainable.

Turn your everyday actions into acts of good at P&G Good Everyday.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."