Burnout In Volunteering: How To Recognize And Prevent It
Volunteering is a way of serving others, we all know that definition of volunteering. According to the Project Helping, volunteers are in a better health conditions and at a higher level of overall satisfaction. With lower mortality rates, a less frustrated mood, and bigger fulfillment, volunteers experience pride and joy on a larger scale. At least, in the beginning. But how long does it actually last?
Let’s be honest. Volunteers have their ups and downs. We all do. Most young people usually start out their volunteering adventure enthusiastically. They believe in their own capacity to make this world a better place. They often dedicate almost all their time to volunteering and doing good for others, in the name of a greater good.
No wonder that these people quickly make friends in volunteering communities and are very social. But then something strange eventually happens… and volunteers give up on their activities and engagement. The reason behind this is the burnout caused by the way they’ve been thinking and looking at volunteering: and it was all wrong. Let us share the most widespread thoughts that often represent obstacles on the volunteering path.
Don’t wait for others to express gratitude
Ask yourself: “Will you continue to volunteer if you are criticised for your activities?” Imagine you have taught children at school located in a remote rural area. Then, your friends start criticising you, and even parents don’t give you support. What is more, children whom you dedicate so much time do not look grateful enough. It is very easy to experience burnout in such a condition. Be aware of this trap. Remember that your actions will, definitely, impact life of children further. If you really want to change this world, there is no time to judge your efforts by looking at gratitude.
Don’t give more than you can
You have had a great job, but then you started volunteering. Perhaps, you want to dedicate all your efforts to volunteering. After work, you go to the place where your activities take place. You don’t sleep enough, you forget to eat sometimes. Then, you get more and more nervous. Once, you feel absolutely unhappy. It seems nobody appreciates you. This is one more trap which is easy to fall. The solution is to give a little bit more than you usually do. If you are used to giving 2–3 free classes weekly, add plus one class. But before that ask yourself honest if you are ready for a challenge. It is also a good idea to get into, for instance, teaching step by step. This is what we have proposed in this 1HOUR article.
Joy is your best friend
Frustration comes to a person when there is no progress for too long. That’s why it is important to celebrate volunteers’ accomplishments. As a matter of fact, at 1HOUR we try to measure the results, collect the feedback, make assessment, and help you get the fully satisfactory volunteering experience. But, generally, volunteers just dedicate all their efforts. And once it seems they stay in one place.
To avoid this trap, try to recall what you have done every day in the evening. Recall how the children you were teaching felt. Remember their moments of joy. Try to connect volunteering in your mind with the joyful nature. Indeed, all your efforts will results in how others achieve more. And never regret having done big things. If you feel you are losing inspiration, try to get excited by reading these stories of famous volunteers.