Avoiding Burnout While Giving Back to Communities

Nick Shivers explains how individuals can avoid burnout while volunteering continuously or giving back to their communities.

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Giving back to our communities is one of the most important things we can do. Whether volunteering your time, money, or resources, being able to positively impact others’ lives is something we should all set out to do at some point in our lives. But if this is something you regularly do, you may have noticed there is some degree of burnout involved in volunteering. Whether it is from overworking yourself or continually exposing yourself to distressing situations, becoming physically or emotionally drained is a real possibility. 

So, how do you combat this feeling? You most likely have a natural heart for serving and want to continue doing so. Feeling burnt out from volunteering may be weighing on your heart, and you may feel guilty about needing to take a break. Rest assured that this is a natural feeling to have, and there are many ways to avoid or bounce back from this exhaustion.

Reflect on the Impact You’re Making

A great way to motivate yourself is to look at the impact you are making in individuals’ lives or in a community as a whole. Your dedicated work will seem much more meaningful to you if you reflect on the ways your service has influenced others. This practice isn’t meant to make you prideful but instead to make you feel grateful for the experiences you’ve had and the relationships you’ve made. When you reflect on the trickling effects of good deeds, you will feel prompted to continue serving.

Have Someone to Confide In

When you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed by your volunteer work, it is important to have someone to confide in. Whether it is a spouse, a close friend, or even another volunteer, make sure you have a relationship in which you can release any stress that may be stored up inside of you. Oftentimes, having these conversations offers a critical breakthrough that enables you to reflect on your work and grow passionate about it once more. Having someone in your life who can sympathize with and encourage you to continue is very important in preventing burnout.

Try to Pick Work That Matches Your Talents

There are many types of volunteering positions and ways to serve your community. Trying to help in an area you are not passionate about or gifted in may be leading you into exhaustion. Let’s say you’ve been serving an older community who suffers from dementia. If you’re not prepared to serve this community and would thrive better with children or young adults, you may want to consider picking a different volunteer path. If you’re a talented cook, look for volunteer opportunities where you can serve others by cooking. Or, if you love teaching others, look for trips that allow you to pursue teaching opportunities in communities. When you look for volunteer work that allows you to give of talents you already have, you will be less likely to feel burnt out.

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