This post was originally written for an UpWork job I bid on. Although I was paid for the work, this post was not published.
Working in a nonprofit can be one of the most rewarding things you do in your life. Hopefully, you’re working to advance a cause that you care about and that makes a positive impact in your community. But it can also be the most challenging things you do in your life. Nonprofits are, by and large, small organizations with limited staff and resources. That means that burnout is around the corner for most of the people who work in the field.
When burnout is imminent, engaging in self-care might seem like just another thing to add to your never-ending “to do” list. I hope you’re coming across this post early in your nonprofit career so you can get started engaging in self-care, but it’s really never too late to get started. Your personal and professional life will benefit hugely from implementing some self-care strategies.
First, you need to leave work. I know how easy it can be, especially if you don’t have other obligations, to throw yourself into your work when you’re excited about it. We also live in a culture that equates staying at the office with being more productive. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You need to clock out and be unavailable for a period of time every day. Don’t check your email on your phone or take business calls after hours. If you’re anything like me, social media is chock-full of people who are passionate about the same things you are passionate about and an evening can pass as you fall down the rabbit hole of activism. As you’re establishing these boundaries, I would suggest limiting your social media intake.
Second, find a hobby. I know you’re not in the field because it’s going to make you rich, but finding something you enjoy can help you make that break from work at the end of the day. Start writing, drawing, hiking, biking, or anything else. I love using Groupon (side note: we are not endorsed by Groupon nor are we receiving any compensation for this suggestion) to try things I wouldn’t otherwise try because of how affordable they are. I’m even taking my husband on a surprise date to a local museum that had a Groupon deal.
Third, advocate for yourself at work. If you’re being asked to take on too much, don’t be shy about saying no. Of if what you’re being asked to do fits in really well with your strategic plan, see what else you’re doing that you can ditch. If you don’t have a strategic plan, I would encourage you to advocate for one! How to set one up is another post for another day.
What are some ways you engage in self-care? If you’re just starting out, what are some things you’d like to do? If you’re a little more advanced in your career, what have you done that has been successful?