Action Wellbeing’s work is to promote the self care and wellbeing of anyone taking part in actions through physical and emotional support, checking in with one another and looking out for those willing to be arrested and those just passing by.
“I feel so fully alive when supporting Wellbeing at XR actions. It’s just amazing to be so involved in important work, whilst also focusing on creating the type of culture I now want to live in… one of peaceful, joyful kindness” – Alex, XR Regen Volunteer
To get in touch with Action Wellbeing email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Action Wellbeing Handbook
The Action Wellbeing Handbook contains all you need to know about Action Wellbeing including roles, pre- and post-action preparation and tips on self care, interpersonal care and active listening.Download Action Wellbeing Handbook (Provisional Work in Progress Version)
- Action Wellbeing in a Nutshell
Action Wellbeing in XR
Action Wellbeing happens at 3 different levels:
- Between Individuals
- Within Affinity Groups
Wellbeing Support Between Individuals
We advise everyone involved in an action to have a Personal Anchor. This is someone who isn’t at the action and is able to support you remotely especially with check-ins before, during and after action as needed. Anchors are there to ground rebels around an action and help them re-connect when they return home, especially after an arrest. Anchors are less likely to be swept up by the tumult of an action and can provide a kind, outside perspective that helps rebels to integrate their experiences with their lives and the world around them.
We think it’s important for everyone to have a Buddy to help feel connected and supported at an action. This means simply pairing up with someone at the action.
Wellbeing within Affinity Groups
There are many roles you can have within an affinity group including these wellbeing roles:
Action Wellbeing Advocate/Coordinator in affinity groups is there to specifically look out for the 8-12 people in their affinity group. This might include organising a wellbeing kit to take with you (e.g. some water and emergency snacks, umbrellas/sun screen/… as appropriate, basic toiletries just in case), and initiating regular check-ins with the group.
Action Wellbeing Anchor – someone who reserves their energy (possibly away from the action) in order to support post-action wellbeing such as welcoming home, debrief, talking circles.
Wellbeing Roles Action-Wide
At actions with more than one or two affinity groups, we try to have additional Action Wellbeing Supporters (in blue sashes or blue hi-vis vests) and First Aiders in green first aid vests). Action Wellbeing Coordinators help in the preparation of an action, for example by creating a rota of Action Wellbeing Supporters and First Aiders, organise training and kits. During they action, they help with hand-overs between shifts. After actions, they organise debriefs for the Wellbeing Supporters and Advocates so we can learn from each other’s experience.
The wellbeing of rebels is everybody’s responsibility, but Action Wellbeing Supporters are there as back-up. They will keep an eye on the physical and emotional wellbeing of anybody who is taking part in the action, and creating a check-in culture in which we care for and support one another, especially those who are alone or without an Affinity Group. At large actions, they will have a Wellbeing hub and a calm, quiet space for first aid. The Wellbeing Team can also offer support for the affinity group Wellbeing Coordinator.
The main tasks of Action Wellbeing Supporters during an action are to:
- Provide Physical Support
- Provide Emotional Support
- Check-in with Arrestables
- Provide emotional support during an arrest
- Safeguard wellbeing during an arrest
- Help find Legal Observers for arrests
The wellbeing of rebels is everybody’s responsibility, we are all crew!Read more in the Action Wellbeing Handbook
- Simple ways to stay grounded and connected during an action
What do you do to ground yourself in a moment of stress?
Grounding – Audio
We want to develop resilience and wellbeing through introspection and deepening our support networks (for arrestables and non-arrestables). Regularly checking in with each other during actions can help us to:
- Recognise, observe and explore our emotions
- Develop greater connection and a feeling of support and safety between each other
- Ground the group at times of heightened emotion
- Uncover and respond to the needs of the group
Self soothing techniques
- Focus on your breathing, observing your breath, first without changing it and then very gradually lengthening your exhales. Try to only focus on breathing out, trusting that breathing in happens naturally as and when your body needs it.
- Bringing your attention to your feet and feeling connected to the immediate ground under your feet, and through it, to the soil, the earth, the planet. You are part of a whole and you are connected to it, through your body and through your feet at all times. You are on safe ground.
- Bringing attention to your senses – 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste.
- Broadening out your vision (Owl vision), looking as far around you as you can – all the way up to the sky, all the way down to your feet. All the way to your left and all the way to your right. Our vision sometimes contracts when we are scared and we lose sight of what’s important.
- Loosening your shoulders by pulling them up as hard as you can and then letting them fall down. Repeat a few times. Turn your head very slowly from one side to the middle, to the other side, to the middle again. Repeat a few times. We tend to tense around our neck and shoulders in times of stress, actively releasing this tension can help you relax.
Shaking is a normal response to tension in the body, shaking releases the tension and relaxes the muscles which has a direct affect on your nervous system. We love a quick shake out or dance break with a group mid action.
Connecting with your heart intelligence – a simple practice for rebels
- Possible initial physical activity such as a shake to release stagnant fear and anger.
- Rooting feet on the floor, bending the knees begin by shaking the hands, releasing anything that they may be carrying that no longer serves you; introducing other parts of the body, with the breath, and the voice if you feel like moving this too. The intention to let go of anything you may be carrying on a physical level. When the energy is subsided, an invitation to come to a place of stillness.
- 3 collective breaths with the intention of presencing the senses and releasing any unwanted tension from body or mind.
- Either sitting or standing, an invitation to close eyes if this feels appropriate.
- An invitation to place your hands on your heart. To hold your heart with infinite kindness.
- Begin breathing into the heart centre/chest area. Expanding the chest and awareness of chest with every full breath in and release breath from your heart centre as you breathe out.
- Coming into a more centred awareness in the heart centre/chest imagine and see your heart in your minds eye.
- Imagine a ball of light expanding throughout the chest. Feeling your heart become lighter and brighter.
- Taking a few moments here.
- Accessing gratitude: Ask “What am I grateful for?” Rather than thinking too much, finding the answer for this in the body/the heart centre and connect to the sensations that arise, breathing into this place. It could be a memory of joy, love or serenity.
- Returning to your breath as you feel the memory of your heart. See and feel your heart smiling.
- Returning to the feeling of lightness and expansion of your beautiful heart.
- Becoming aware of the glow of other hearts in the room, noticing them, noticing the power of the network of hearts.
- Thanking your bountiful, magnificent, buoyant heart and the hearts of others. Taking 3 collective breaths.
- Letting go slowly of the focus on your heart. Releasing your hands and feeling your feet.
- Slowly opening your eyes.
Practice these techniques long before the action so become second nature and readily available when you need them in times of stress.
Useful Tools and Templates
- Action Scenarios – to role play with your Affinity Group, Wellbeing Team or other Rebels
- Pre Action and Arrest Preparation
- Action Brief – what to expect before an Action
- Example Rotas
- Kit List – some suggestions for your Wellbeing Kit
- Group Debrief – please take inspiration and use what is useful to you
- Individual or Buddy Debrief
- Join us in our Action Wellbeing weekly meeting to find out more.
- Organise training.