Self-care as a Nonprofit Professional

‘Tis the month for new resolutions, emphasis on being the best you in the upcoming year. Many of us contemplate about the past year(s), creating healthy habits, and/or changes we want to make in our professional or personal lives. Personally, part of it should include self-care.

yogaWe all know working in the nonprofit sector is not always easy. Many of us have to wear multiple hats, have long to-do lists, work with limited resources, committed to evening and weekend programs, and are always in the public eye. We have big hearts too – our passion and empathy can be energy zapping. It’s true we make a difference in the lives of others and are definitely a giving bunch of people.

So, raise your hand if you need a little extra self-care or TLC! Okay, you can put your hand down and continue reading on for these tips.

Take a vacation. Yes, that’s right – book a vacation on a beach, go to the mountains, or whatever you like to do to relax. A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey published in Time magazine indicated that a little under 42% of Americans did not take a single vacation day in 2014. Yikes!

Eat, Exercise, and Sleep. We have all seen those studies. Eating nutritious foods, exercising 2-3 times a week, and sleeping well are all necessary to be healthy, reduce stress, and be energetic.

Put your car on strike. Make a conscious decision to stay home, whether for a day or a few hours. Find peace in your own space with something you enjoy – read something for fun, cook, binge on Netflix, play a long game of Monopoly with your kids, work on that project that you started months ago, or meditate. 

Laugh. Smile. Find your happiness. I was taught and always heard that laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes all I need to do is call my sisters and laugh, the kind where tears come out of your eyes. It releases all those great endorphins that combat stress.

Say “no.” It really is okay to say no. We already take on a lot of tasks and on occasion we need to let something go. I would much rather be honest with myself and with others in what I can/cannot handle at that time. It gives unrealistic expectations if you commit and are not able to complete the task. Also, successful people are usually the ones that are always asked to take on another project. If you are competent, people notice your work and will often ask you for additional involvement. It is challenging to be effective when you are over committed and burnt out.

Be organized. How much time do you spend looking for your keys? Or where did you put that piece of paper? Finding a designated spot for things, like your keys or your papers, has been a successful tool for me in time management. Hunting for things takes time – it can cause one to be late, miss an important piece of information, and could cause undue stress.

Other nonprofit blogs this month have posted about self-care. Check out Beth Kanter’s post here. Read Vu Le’s post on Nonprofit with Balls here.

self care

One thought on “Self-care as a Nonprofit Professional

  1. And if you need to clear your head or are wrestling with a problem, come walk the labyrinth at Trinity Episcopal Church. It’s on the corner of Berry and Broadway, opens 24/7, and our gift to the community. You can find more about labyrinths at Veriditas trained our two certified facilitators. If you’d like to have an “organized” walk, please contact the church office at 423-1693. And please note that labyrinths are used for more than “religious” purposes.


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