The world is messed up and that’s why a lot of people do politics. Saying the world is messed up is also a way of saying we are messed up. Our mental health needs constant attention and activist organisations don’t always pay enough attention to it. In fact when I searched recently for tools to use in meetings to help us check in on where we are at, I couldn’t find much. So I created a little section from something I vaguely remembered from an organising training. It could slot into all sorts of meetings as a way of taking time out to pay attention to ourselves as individuals:

Split people into pairs. Each person will talk for five minutes, with the other listening and not speaking for the full five minutes. Be happy with silence when talking and listening, even if it feels uncomfortable initially. Sometimes a person might need to sit there and think for a bit.

Answer the question: How are you feeling at the moment, either generally or about the coronavirus situation? Try not to focus on politics per se, though feel free to talk about how you feel about politics. If you cannot talk about feelings for some reason, try to talk about practical matters that are affecting you.

The other person acknowledges with non-verbal signals, then only responds verbally at the end of the five minutes. Try repeating back something of what the person has said so they know you heard. Don’t offer advice unless the person who spoke then asks for it. Allow three minutes for this response time, then swap over.