Philanthropy and community involvement can often take individuals on an emotional journey, especially when working in complex and sensitive matters. While you want to continue being a valuable asset to the cause you are supporting, you also need to realize when you need to take a step back to recover. Your emotional burden may not be as severe as the individuals you are helping, but it is still a valid reason to recover so that you can continue serving well.
How Can You Recover From Volunteering?
Volunteering can drive you into a place of emotional distress, especially if it is something you do on a regular basis. There is no shame in having to take a step back from time to time. After all, it is important that you are in a healthy mindset in order to help others well, or else you could inadvertently cause more pain in these people’s lives. In order to recover from some of the emotional burdens that these volunteering efforts can cause, there are certain practices you can put in place.
Though you may have built a volunteering network, it is also essential that you do not abandon your friendships. Even if you feel too mentally exhausted to go out and distract yourself, this is a necessary task when you’re trying to recover from an emotional burden brought on by volunteering. It can seem unfair that you get to distract yourself with a fun evening while the people you volunteered for have to stay put in their situation. But you have to remind yourself that you cannot continue pouring into others if you do not take the time to recharge in this way.
In your daily life, it is also important to follow a generally healthy diet. People often do not realize the negative effects of eating processed foods in place of fresh produce and home-cooked meals. Sticking to a healthier diet can help lift your mood and allow you to bounce back from emotional burnout more quickly. In addition to this healthy shift, you should also make sure you are not neglecting a regular exercise routine. By taking your energy out on physical activities like running or even boxing, you can release the stresses that have been caused by volunteering and begin clearing your mind to prepare yourself for further volunteering.
If even after all of your efforts to recharge you still feel burnt out, you might decide to talk to a therapist. When dealing with sensitive matters, it can be challenging to reach a point of satisfaction. Oftentimes, this stems from volunteers placing immense pressure on themselves to change a person’s situation. But one of the best things you can do is remind yourself that it is not in your hands to change their circumstances but to instead be a helping hand when needed. This gentle reminder can help you prepare for volunteering in such matters and might allow you to have a bigger impact than you would if you place this pressure on yourself.