January Nonprofit Blog Carnival: What Are You Doing To Be Happier, Healthier in 2016? | Beth's Blog

January Nonprofit Blog Carnival: What Are You Doing To Be Happier, Healthier in 2016?

Happy Healthy Nonprofit

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.

Stress Reduction

  • 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

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.


  • 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.)

Beth Kanter:  Happy, Healthy Nonprofit:   Self-Care Assessments, Plans, and Practices
Aliza Sherman:  Practicing Mindfulness and Tech Wellness

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.

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!

5 Responses

  1. Belinda says:

    Thanks for your sharing this, like.

  2. Beth… first let me thank you for including my submissions for the January Nonprofit Blog Carnival. You are very kind. Thank you! On a side note, I just wanted to let you know that I started following/reading bloggers approx 14 years ago. You were the first blogger I ever subscribed to. You aren’t just my favorite blogger (even to this day), but when I started blogging almost 5 years ago I used you as the “gold standard” of blogging. I aspired to your excellence and awesomeness and still do so to this very day. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us.

  3. Pamela Grow says:

    A fabulous Carnival on such a timely topic – thanks Beth! And Erik’s comment – I concur!

  4. […] January’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival and got us heading in the right direction with her theme What Are You Doing to Be Happier and Healthier in 2016? Julie Campbell is hosting February’s Carnival and is asking for submissions […]