January is a good time to reflect, recharge, and establish healthy habits that make us more effective in our nonprofit work. Many of us work for nonprofits because we are passionate about social change missions. But let’s be honest, working in the nonprofit sector can be tough, especially with limited resources and the never-ending to do list. Despite the challenges, many of us manage to get extraordinary results without burning out.
This month’s carnival was an opportunity for nonprofit bloggers to share a post that addressed this question: What self-care techniques, rituals, or habits do you personally live and breath everyday that keep you inspired, calm, and effective at your nonprofit?
We had some awesome submissions from nonprofit bloggers about being healthier and happier in 2016.
- 5 Core Values at Work for 2016 by Kathy Naylor, VP of HR and Talent at the MIND Research Institute shares the core values that will insure your happiness and health at your nonprofit career.
- 7 No Cost Self-Care Actions by Lori L. Jacobwith of the Fire Starters Blog offers up some terrific ways to avoid burnout that are free or low cost.
- Top Ten Tips for Dealing with Anxiety by Suzette Annan at the HealUrHead blog offers some terrific tips on how to calm anxiety that many of us feel when we work in situations with few resources and lots of major work to accomplish.
- Making and Caring for My Soul from Marlowe Miller, Professor of English and Associate, UML Center for Women and Work shares the power of being creative as a stress reduction technique.
Making New Habits and Keeping Them
- My Resolutions for 2016 by Joyce Lee-Ibarra at JLI Consulting Blog shares her plan for getting enough sleep every night, a sure fire way to be productive,
- Five New Year’s Resolutions Everyone Should Have by Ann Boone on the Relief from Pain blogs gives us some great suggestions to create a self-care plan.
Self-Awareness and Assessment
Erik Anderson, Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC, wrote three posts on the Donor Dreams blog, sharing his favorite assessment tools and how to use them with your team.
- New year starts with a little assessment work
- StandOut 2.0 as an assessment tool for growth, team building and direction setting
- Emotional Intelligence 2.0 as an assessment tool for growth and team building
- 5 Pitfalls That Ruin Your Productivity (and Sanity) by Megan Keane, Membership Director, NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network writes about some common challenges that get in the way of our personal productivity and suck our energy like powering through your work day without taking a break.
- What I Learned From Swimming With Sharks by Diane H. Leonard, GPC who writes the Grant Writer’s Blog writes about the importance of taking a real break from work and making it an unplugged vacation.
As many of you may know, Aliza Sherman and are working on a book called “The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Impact without Burnout.” We have been on the hunt for stories, resources, and examples and thought we’d share a few resource collections we compiled for a recent webinar hosted by Wild Apricot. (If you have a story or resource that you’d like us to include the book, please let us know.)
While these posts are not all recently published, I think they are place to start to think about “self-care for nonprofits” and set the stage. All of these posts talk about the need for the nonprofit’s culture to nurture and support self-care of its staff. When self-care responsibility is on the backs of the individuals, it doesn’t work as well.
- Aspen Baker: The Discipline of Self Care
- Nonprofit with Balls: Your Self-Care May Be Holding You Back
- Mary Cahalane: Your Work or a Life
- Beth Kanter: Does Your Nonprofit’s Culture Eat French Fries for Breakfast?
- Beth Kanter: Don’t Abuse Self-Care
There are two resources offer lots of useful tips and readings on how you can learn to take care of yourself – and move from a chronic state of stress to a chronic state of self-care. The University of Buffalo Self-Care Starter Kit is a comprehensive collection of resources and readings geared for social workers and others that may suffer from secondary trauma. If you are looking a for an entertaining and highly quick read, check out Nonprofit with Balls: 7 Self-Care Tips.
More recently the Harvard Business Review Blog published an excellent piece called “Help Your Team Reduce Stress and Avoid Burnout,” which summarizes a lot of the research about why working endless hours is not actually productive. The tips are great for teams of individuals to practice together. I particularly like the advice about “monotasking.”
- Model and encourage well-being practices
- Allow time to disconnect outside of work
- Train the brain to deal with chaos
- Emphasize “monotasking” for better focus
- Be purposeful about “gap” time during the work day, or slow periods over the course of the working year
- Exercise empathy and compassion
What is a Nonprofit Blog Carnival?
It’s a monthly round-up of blog posts on topics for people like you, at nonprofits. Each month, the host creates a theme and sends out the call (in a post like this) for posts on that topic. Then the host (that’s us!) collects the best ones in a round-up post towards the end of the month. You can write a post for your own website or blog. It doesn’t have to be specifically for the Carnival, or even mention the Carnival. Check out the December 2015 Blog Carnival hosted by The Fundraising Authority Blog and February’s Carnival is on the theme of SMART Objectives and will be hosted by blogger Julie Campbell.
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2016!