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How to Avoid Burnout When You're Saving the World

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-avoid-burnout-when-youre-saving-the-world

themuse.com

How to Avoid Burnout When You're Saving the World
Everyone has to deal with burnout at some point. Between long hours, demanding clients, and a never-ending pile of work, eventually, it can all become too much to handle. And in this economy, there's no reprieve: Workers are more likely than ever to skip their vacations, fearing that if their bosses find out they can live without them for two weeks, they might be able to survive without them, period.

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Burnout of a Nonprofit employee

Burnout of a Nonprofit employee

The burden is slightly different for a nonprofit employee. In addition to an intimidating pile of work on your desk, you face a steady stream of people whose lives often depend on you and your organization’s assistance.

You'll need a new strategy to fight that feeling of professional fatigue.

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Burnout Cause #1: The Grind Never Stops

There is no regular downtime when it comes to serving the needy and fundraising to keep a nonprofit organisation running—this never-ending demand means constant deadlines and a steady stream of emergencies.

How to Deal with it.

  • Schedule Time Off. Plan breaks around deadlines, even if it is only part of a day.
  • Prioritise. Focus on what's really important.
  • Take Some Time to Think. Diarise time to do deadline-free work.

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Burnout Cause #2: Other People’s Lives Are on the Line

Falling into the trap of feeling guilty about prioritising yourself when so many people depend on you.

How to Deal with it.

  • Find a Community. Try scheduling dinner or a happy hour with your colleagues or finding an outside group of nonprofit workers.
  • Create Redundancy So You Can Really Disconnect. Start keeping your colleagues in the loop about all your projects—even training them to take over for you in a pinch.
  • Leverage Funding. Consider talking to your donors. Plenty of understanding foundations may be willing to schedule funding for employee wellness.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Relationship Between Goals And Burning Out

The Relationship Between Goals And Burning Out

Effective goal-setting underlies the fundamental aspect of your motivation and keeps stressful situations at bay.

If you don’t set goals in positive, attainable ways, you may fall i...

Reorganizing Your Goal Hierarchy

As losing resources is more likely to cause burnout than gaining resources is to mitigate it, dealing with the negative aspects is more beneficial than using positive “band-aid” fixes. You want to drive down uncertainty and inefficiency to ensure that you aren’t doing unnecessary tasks and minimize your emotional exhaustion. To do that:

  1. Create a chart and place your major goal at its top, followed by layers of very specific subgoals needed to attain the major goal.
  2. Find and fix the inefficiencies in your goal hierarchy.
  3. Determine the attainability of each goal.

Burnout Symptoms And Signs Of Exhaustion

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Impaired concentration/ forgetfulness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Increased illness
  • Physical symptoms
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Depression
  • Interpersonal problems.

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Recognize the signs

  • You're tired all the time. 
  • Cooperating with colleagues takes an enormous effort. 
  • You keep your office door shut and interact with your computer. 
  • ...

Take a mental health break

It's hard when you can't function as well as you're used to, but slogging on doesn't work when you're in a downward spiral. 

When you're at a crossroads in terms of your mental health, you need to really say, 'OK, I'm going to ask for five days off. That might mean the difference between me not having a mental health breakdown, or needing to take additional time off.

Find treatment

"Depression is no different from any other chronic condition," says Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. 

"To stay with it and maintain an independent and productive life -- it's important to identify it, get the appropriate treatment and then stick with that treatment." 

Understand your limitations

Burnout occurs when job demands consistently outweigh the resources available. The first thing you need to do is to set proper limits.

When you limit your time spent on specific tasks,...

Learn to say no

 ... especially to projects and clients that suck the creativity out of you.

When your mental resources are limited, you need to make sure they’re going to the right tasks. Burnout decimates your motivation, making working on projects you’re uninterested in an agonizing process.

Finding a creative outlet

Find a completely unrelated creative outlet: look for a creative task with lower stakes to help ease you back into things and re-ignite your creativity and motivation.

What are the things in your own life that you enjoy but aren’t necessarily “productive”?