My coworker came into my office yesterday and asked how my day was going. “I’m tired”, I said. She replied, “You’ve been saying you’re tired a lot lately. Are you getting enough sleep?” I am getting enough sleep. In fact, I’ve been getting more sleep than usual these days. But I still feel tired and no amount of coffee in the morning has been helping.
Today during my commute home, I realized I’ve hit the inevitable nonprofit burnout. Researching policy, crafting media messages, keeping track of donors and grants, reaching out to other stakeholders, coalition meetings, phone conferences (I have 9 standing calls every week), lobbying legislators/administration…and “other duties, as assigned”, of course. Nonprofit professionals, from my experience and experience of some colleagues of mine, become accustomed to working hard (sometimes long hours) and maintaining demanding to-do lists for the sake of mission-driven work. I mean, this is what we signed up for, right? Saving the world shouldn’t come easy, right?
I’m passionate about the work that I do in the office, in addition to the volunteer work I do for the community through the mentorship program I’m involved in. I’m a natural “helper”-type, but it’s very difficult to help others if I’m not helping myself. I haven’t been very diligent about self-care and making sure that I take time out of my schedule to relax, reflect, and —dare I say it— maintain a healthy level of selfishness once in a while.
To try to combat this professional fatigue, I’ve come up with a few personal work resolutions that will hopefully help me out:
Good luck to all my fellow nonprofit employees! If anyone has any tips they’d like to share, please do!
Beyoncé x Missy Elliott - Yoncé Gets Her Freak On (AudioSavage Mashup)
Though I’m feeling under the weather in my bed in LA, I’m really glad I was given the opportunity to visit Washington, DC for the first time!
My work sent me to Health Action 2014, a conference put on by Families USA. Families USA is national nonprofit that focuses on achieving high-quality health care for all Americans. Our keynote speakers included big-time health advocates from all over the country, including Vice President Joe Biden, Ezra Klein, Mayor Julian Castro (who I got to meet! Mayor crush! lol), and others. The workshops I attended were mostly focused on Health Equity (particularly focused on race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc)—but I guess that should come as no surprise to folks :) I think the best part of the conference was being able to network with like-minded people from all over the country and finally get to meet people I’ve been on weekly conference calls/webinars/Twitter (@TJamoralin) with since last April in person.
I decided to stay a couple extra days, which was such a great decision. During my free time, I was able to explore different parts of the city through walking and a quick bus tour with a colleague of mine. I can honestly say I love DC. Maybe it’s the big policy nerd in me. I even got to go to Virginia and Maryland (to visit my family in Silver Spring) and visit a few friends from college that have relocated to that area.
Even though the weather was freeeeeeezing (ranging anywhere from -13 windchills up to a whopping 35 degrees), I actually loved it! Obviously, we never get real cold weather in LA, so it was nice to be in the snow for a week. It wasn’t so bad if the wind wasn’t blowing and as long as I wore lots of layers (shoutout to my mom for buying me a thick coat in 8th grade that I thought I’d never have to use). While in DC, I walked 3-6 miles every day. I enjoyed jumping into small piles of snow :)
Can’t wait to visit again!