US Human Rights Network Blog

US Human Rights Network Blog



Taking care of yourself and your team during COVID-19

Mar 30, 2020

It has been said enough times: we are in unprecedented times. During this period of uncertainty and anxiety, it is especially important that we as individuals take care of ourselves, and that we recognize the needs of our families, colleagues, friends, and other community members to do the same for themselves. At the US Human Rights Network Coordinating Center, we are doing our best to acknowledge and honor how each other are feeling.

Here are some of our own recommendations for how to take care of yourself and your team during this time:

  • - Remind yourself and your colleagues that no one knows the exact “right” thing to do or how to be right now, and that is okay. 

  • - Check in with folks on an emotional level without trying to “solve” or “fix” their feelings. Simply hear them and express gratitude to them for sharing. Allow space for people to process, reflect, and grieve in their own way. 

  • - Try to find a few minutes each day to check in with your body and mind in the present moment. Take a step back and notice how you are feeling, and ask yourself if there is anything you need in this moment. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try to bring your attention to the sensations you’re experiencing -- gently and attentively notice what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.

  • - If it feels okay to do so, share what you need with your colleagues. Maybe you need patience, or to slow down, or maybe you need more tasks to keep you occupied, or more regular check-ins with your team. Let folks know, and ask to hear what they need from you in return. 

  • - Ask each of your team and your community members what they are doing to take care of themselves during this time, and ask yourself the same question.

  • - If you are able to carve out 15 minutes in your day, do so and spend it doing something that brings you pleasure and solace -- call a friend, take a nap, draw or paint, read a book, sing, dance, or listen to music, etc.. Encourage each of your team members to find their own 15-minute activity to practice daily.


We realize that many of our grassroots members are currently operating in crisis mode, responding to essential needs of your communities. We also recognize that in order to best serve your communities, you must take care of yourselves and your team. So, we are reposting a couple of resources that we shared after anti-immigrant attacks that took place in Texas and Mississippi last summer:

We remind you to continue to take care of yourselves and each other, keeping your individual and community healing practices at the center of your work and self-care. Please find a couple of helpful resources below on the trauma of activism and how we as activists and human rights defenders must take care of ourselves and of each other. We must sustain ourselves, care for ourselves, and love ourselves in order to do the work of fighting for the rights of those beside us.

Police Brutality and Activist Trauma Support and Recovery, Published by Roots of Change Collective: An accessible, illustrated 20-page pamphlet explaining how trauma works, signs and symptoms of trauma, how to support yourself or your friends/colleagues, and more (designed in the context of Maori activism and police violence, and highly appropriate for all varieties of activist-related trauma).

Self-Care for Activists: Sustaining Your Most Valuable Resource: A short summary article based on a discussion among a dozen activists on the topics of self-care, placing self-care at the core of activism, challenging the idea of activism as selflessness, providing and performing self-care, and creating a culture of self-care.