Assess Your Immediate Safety
Bystander intervention is incredibly important. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult. Do what you can – whether that’s reporting, writing a supportive message, or just clicking “I’ve Got Your Back” – but give yourself permission to say no when you need to. Some days you might feel like you can take on the world, and those days are the best time to reach out to others who might be struggling. At times when you don’t feel as resilient, be kind to yourself and allow yourself to take a break. You can change your email notification settings in your account profile if you need to take some time off.
Be Mindful of Your Own Triggers
While it’s always helpful for a victim of online harassment to get support from someone who’s been in their situation, take care to look out for your triggers – those things that are particularly upsetting for you and might bring up memories of injustice or trauma you have experienced. Each help request is tagged with the nature of the harassment (e.g. racism, transphobia, misogyny), so you can focus on reading only the content you’re best equipped to deal with.
Share Your Feelings
You don’t have to take everything on by yourself. Talk to a partner, friend, family member, therapist, or advocate, and know that your feelings are valid, whatever they are. Share your story on Right To Be’s Storytelling Platform. Just like you know it’s important for people experiencing online harassment to ask for help from the our community, you are just as deserving of help from your own community.
Take Steps to Prevent Burnout
As we all know, prevention is the best cure. Take action to stop burnout before it happens and nip it in the bud. Work self-care into your schedule and make plans to meet friends or do something fun and relaxing. Keep a journal or a note on your phone listing all the positive things you see, do, or notice and read over it when you start to get bogged down in negativity. Do something today that your future self will thank you for!
Supporting Others Can Be a Form of Self-Care
It can feel overwhelming to be up against a culture of online harassment and the larger systems of oppression that sustain it, but playing your part in changing this culture can be self-care in itself. Through the small acts of reporting and documenting abuse, or sharing kind words of support to a stranger, you’re helping the victim take back control of the situation and you’re creating positive cultural change. So while it’s important to switch off when you need to, keep in mind the huge importance of what you’re doing, and let that energize you to continue the fight!