This week has been especially busy – a conference, a board meeting and all of the usual day-job and home life responsibilities. I found myself feeling tired, spread too thin, and struggling to find balance. This sparked something for me and I have been mulling over how best to care for myself while trying to do good work.
Doing good is its own reward. Right?
At the ReVisioning Value conference Keynote speaker Dan Pallotta spoke on the constraints placed on non-profits, from limits on advertising to the expectation of low wages for employees, and argued that this frugality seriously hampers the ability of non-profits to have a meaningful, lasting impact. You can read more about this in his book “Uncharitable”.
His presentation was interesting but what I centered in on was reference to the popular notion that those who work toward the greater good are rewarded by the very fact that they get to do good work.
The culture of activism expects us to give too much.
Then, in the moving piece “What’s the Point of the Revolution if We Can’t Dance” from World Pulse magazine, stress, burn-out and need for self-care among those working for social change is discussed.
The article calls for those who work in the field to openly talk about stress, sorrow and the burdens of difficult work. The author challenges us to challenge the system.
Doing well while doing good is the new mantra of the non-profit community. But what about being well? Have we forgotten to take care of ourselves?
What happens when those of us who are working toward social change, healing, and the well-being of others get tired? Do we follow our own advice? If so, how do we care for ourselves? How do we care for one another?
Self-Care is Essential.
- Art – It is no surprise that I find art to be a healthy and healing activity. I like working with pastels, they are very forgiving and sometimes just blending the colors relaxes me.
- Read – Reading a novel helps me to relax and let go. I just finished The Girl With Glass Feet and this story truly transported me to a different place.
- Plan to Not Work – Having a day job and developing SpeakArtLoud means that my brain is almost always “on”, scheduling time to not work has been essential.
And, if I’m going to be honest, there are a few things that I am not very good at.
- Asking for Help – I almost never do this and when I do it usually means I’ve reached a breaking point. I do not know how to ask for help.
- Not Working – I know I said that I plan time to not work, and I do, but if I have not planned to not work then you can bet that I am working. It is hard for me to turn my mind off when.
Creating a Culture of Wellness
As I continue my work on SpeakArtLoud I want to walk my talk. I want to be as well in my own body, mind and spirit as possible so that I am best able to help others.
I would like to add a few new things – meditation, yoga, different types of art – but have yet to do so. I would also like to build a stronger support system and learn how to ask for help, but I am struggling with this.
Now, I want to ask you for your thoughts on this.
- How do you deal with stress?
- What keeps you going?
- What tools do you use to support yourself?
- How do you ask for help?
Please, share you ideas!