Avoiding Burnout in a Volunteer Role

Alphonso Jefferson Jr. writes about burnout in a volunteer role.

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According to some research, people are busier now than ever before. In fact, a lot of people use ‘busy’ as though it were, in and of itself, a virtue. We’re too busy to see our families, too busy to eat, and obviously too busy to sleep. And while productivity is something we should all aim for, we should be careful when it comes to constantly staying on-the-go, especially in a volunteer position when there isn’t really any kick-back coming from a monetary source.

With the burnout epidemic in focus, let’s take a look at some ways we can help prevent it from taking over our lives and causing us to spiral into burnout.

Connecting with the Purpose

From a volunteer standpoint, it can be helpful to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s easy to get caught up in the extra time it takes from other important things, but that free time you devote to your volunteer experience can also help you see how important what you’re doing is. Would you just give up extra time away from your family, your friends, or for yourself? Refocusing your perspective and remembering why you’re doing what you do can turn your business into a mission, and rest can be found doing something you love and are passionate about, not just in time away from doing anything at all.

Learning to Say No

With that said, sometimes a little R&R is absolutely necessary. Often, the same spirit that has led us to volunteer is the same spirit that causes us to say ‘yes’ to everything. But the fact of the matter is we can’t say yes to everything. Saying ‘yes’ to every offer that comes our way actually causes us to say not to excellence and in the things we’re currently doing.

Taking Some Time Off

The final thing that can help prevent burnout is actually just taking some time away from what you’re doing. Vacations, personal days, and sick days are there for a purpose. If you need it, take the time off! You also don’t want the people and community you’re helping because you’re running on empty. Remember, treat yourself as someone you’re responsible for!

While this is far from exhaustive, I hope this helps you think about the importance of self-care when it comes to work and volunteering, and how implementing small changes early on can make a big, lasting difference.

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