Abuse or harassment, whether it happens online or offline, is a draining experience. It can make you feel angry, tired and depleted of energy. On some days, even just checking your inbox or mentions can result in feeling unsettled. Which is why, even when you’re taking on the abusers, laughing at the trolls, or reporting harassment to internet platforms, it’s really important that you take care of yourself, too.
Not letting abuse stand shouldn’t mean responding to every harasser if it’s only going to grind you down. Rushing to help women in distress shouldn’t consistently come at the cost of your own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Reading through and syncing yet another ‘block list’ of abusers shouldn’t lead to increased anxiety, migraines or stress.
Even though it’s widely accepted now that online spaces are real, and that abuse which occurs online can affect us as much as offline harassment, we often forget this truth when it comes to self-care. By all means, fight, report, complain, laugh, build communities. But also take time for yourself to recuperate, recover and heal.
Pick your battles, and remember that more important than your ‘duty’ to wage war against online misogyny is your duty to take care yourself. Of course, do what you can. On some days that might be quite a lot. On other days, it may be nothing at all. That’s all absolutely okay.
Self-care is about realising when it’s time to take a step back and making time to do stuff that makes you feel better and re-energises you.
We'll be having a Twitter conversation with women and gender minorities on self-care and online abuse, asking them to share their own self-care activities and tips, and we'll be sharing our favourites soon here! Check back for more in a week or so.