It all happens to us. Time silently ticks away, and deadlines loom. And, then, BAM, out of the blue, a crisis occurs with a client, or some other proverbial “fire” starts burning. Perhaps it is a last-minute grant deadline suddenly arises, or the photocopier goes out on the fritz, but whatever it may be, things keep rolling at us.
I know first-hand. For the past four years, I have entirely ignored my health in service to building my consulting business. I didn’t have the time to devote to making my own doctor’s appointments. Until this past fall, when I went for a mammogram, and, alas, they found a mass. I just had surgery to remove the mass but it surely has been quite a wake-up call for me, and I hope for you.
While the tasks may mount, and the deadlines seem endless, you must devote time to self-care. We talk a great deal about donor love in the fundraising world, but, we do that at our costs as fundraisers. How can we love our donors, if we are not even taking good care of ourselves? In most, cases our well runs dry and we become frustrated and aggravated no longing willing to invest in doing our work to the best of our ability.
Here are some “Self Care” recommendations that I want to pass along to you:
- When the day gets to be too much, step out of it and go for a walk. A 15, 30, or even 60-minute walk can do much to refresh you. You will probably find that you get much more accomplished after this walk than before.
- Spend a few minutes and plan the coming week. You’ll feel less stressed about everything you have to do if you get everything organized beforehand. Plus, crossing things off your list throughout the week always feels good.
- Call a friend or loved one and told them how much you appreciate them. Expressing gratitude is the best release. It centers your focus on something other than yourself!
- Listen to soothing music. Music has a way of calming the senses or even invigorating us if need be. Chose your music to alter your mood and get dancing.
- Call in sick! Yes, sometimes, we need a day “off!” A day to reset ourselves both mentally, emotionally, and physically. Let’s face it; our work is exhausting.
- Take your vacation. And, I mean, “tune off” for your vacation. I put an autoresponder on my emails and note to my clients that unless it is an emergency, I will not be answering emails or telephone calls. And, I note that this is so that I can come back refreshed to serve them better.
- Decide how much money you truly need to live? I have been going through this exercise lately, and to be honest, it is much less than I initially thought. And, I don’t need as much money to live. So, downsize your hours, responsibilities, etc.
- Journal and keep a gratitude list. Gratitude is the most potent antidote to a stressed-out life. Get in the habit of being grateful daily and watch all sorts of things begin to change.
- Say no. Go on. You can say no. The guilt fades, and relief will set in. If you feel like you can’t say no yet, try, “I can do that in 6 weeks.”
- Take a social media break, alternatively go online and look at cute pictures of baby animals. New research suggests it helps with concentration.
And, most importantly, don’t neglect your health like I did because you can’t afford to take the time out of work.
So, above is a smorgasbord of some critical “Self Care” tips. While I don’t suggest a particular strategy, what I do recommend is that you take care of yourself first and foremost. Only then, can you show your donors all the donor love that they so deserve? That donor love will come from a place of centeredness and balance, not crankiness and overwork.
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