All too often, nonprofit leaders put themselves at the bottom of their daily priorities. They are too busy serving others, meeting the needs of the organization and juggling home and family life to take time to care for themselves. Unfortunately, when this goes on for too long, the health and productivity of the nonprofit leader is impacted.
Some of the things that I hear from nonprofit leaders…
“The board doesn’t understand all of the things that I have to do everyday.”
“The board only cares if I bring in enough money to run the organization.”
“The only way I can get my work done is by working late hours every night.”
“I haven’t been able to take a vacation in the past two years.”
These statements are just a sampling of the feelings of frustration and hopelessness that I hear from nonprofit leaders. All too often, nonprofit leaders leave a corporate environment for a better quality of life only to find that their lives become more demanding and frustrating in the nonprofit environment.
To be effective in their demanding roles, nonprofit leaders must practice self-care.
Self-care can take on many different forms and means different things to different people. For some it will mean taking a brief vacation while for others it may mean spending some time with a friend on the phone. Initially, it may seem uncomfortable as you identify the things that help you to relax and keep your relationships with others strong. But, keep going, keep practicing, self-care will become more comfortable and familiar to you.
Like any good leader, you are probably thinking, how can I find the time for self-care. I want to encourage you to look at your calendar and schedule some time each week to care for yourself. I believe you will find that as a result of doing so you are more productive and effective the rest of the time when you are serving others.
And, in case you haven’t been told lately, “Thank you for your service, I appreciate all that you do and the sacrifices you make.”