The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast

The Human Toll of Dismantling Power in the Age of Trump

A look at activist burnout.
January 4, 2019, 9:17pm
​Illustration by Xavier Lalanne-Tauzia
Illustration by Xavier Lalanne-Tauzia

In activist organizing, it's important to take the long view because defeat comes often. For this reason, it's common for activists to feel weighed down by stress, anxiety, and depression. Left unchecked, these bad feelings can accrete into “burnout,” a term first coined in 1974 by psychologist Herbert J. Freudenberger, who defined it as a “state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by one's professional life.” Recent research has found that people engaged in social justice work may be particularly susceptible to this condition, and that activist burnout can come with its own specific set of symptoms that not only affect organizers—they can harm their movements, too. On this episode of The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast, we talk to Broadly's Marie Solis about activist burnout in the Trump era, and what happens when organizing takes a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

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