Self-Care: Taking Care of Yourself When You Care for Others
In my experience, those of us working in the nonprofit sector, especially those who provide direct service and support to others, are really good at explaining to others the importance of self-care but struggle with actually taking the time to care for ourselves. I believe there are a few reasons for this:
- Serving others feeds us, our souls are nourished by serving others so we don’t always see the negative effects.
- Time, Time, Time, there is never enough time to get everything done, and we are often last on our own to-do list.
- Resources, there are never enough resources; funds, staff, experience, supplies, etc. so often we sacrifice in these areas to provide for others (almost everyone has brought some sort of supplies from home to the organization or event).
- Gratitude and/or Guilt, I put these two feelings in the same category on purpose, often we can feel guilty taking time for ourselves rather than helping someone else and along with that, we can be so grateful for the really positive things in our lives that we want others to have the same.
Of course, these are just a few examples of what I have personally experienced or have heard from leaders and staff at community and faith-based non-profit organizations. There are many more reasons that we tend to put our self-care way down on our priority list. With this reality in mind, we have developed, in partnership with Alliance for Community and Justice Innovation (www.acji.org), an Emergency Self Care Plan template we would like to share with you. Since we know it is often a challenge to be consistent about self-care and with competing priorities, global pandemics, and increasing needs without accompanied funding, we are being pushed to our limits. We may find ourselves in need of some emergency self-care. This template will help you be proactive in case your superhero armor gets a bit dented or you run into your own version of kryptonite and need some additional support.