For us purpose-driven women, it’s so easy to let our passion run the show and take control of our life! Working in the non-profit space, I’m no stranger to burn out. Having gone through it at least twice before, I’m now garnering more tools on how to prevent it. These include boundaries, and showing myself grace and compassion during big projects so that I can find more balance and enjoy the journey without getting overwhelmed!
Have you ever launched a big campaign or project that consisted of working 7 days a week usually until late at night, and then waking up early in the morning to do more and more work? As an entrepreneur, we can find ourselves working unlimited hours because we have no one telling us that we can stop and, “Go home.”
We have to be the ones to set our own boundaries, and sometimes, because we care so much, we have a hard time doing so.
This past September, my non-profit, Kurandza, launched the #IStandForGirls campaign to raise scholarships for 100 girls in Mozambique. It was actually just a few days after The Yellow Conference, and my Mozambican counterpart and best friend, Percina, was in town for the conference and subsequent launch. During this time, I was a little bit (read: very much so) overwhelmed and stressed out about the campaign. Our goal was to raise scholarships for 100 girls in Mozambique, and I knew (thought) that if we didn’t reach our goal, then it meant that I didn’t do enough reaching out and storytelling. Can you relate?
So every waking minute I was reaching out to people, posting on social media, doing Facebook videos, and going to events. Other than seeing people for work-related meetings and hanging out with Percina, my social life was non-existent. My morning routine went out the window and my healthy eating habits did too. I didn’t even practice self care. Even as someone who has felt burn out before and is such a fan of self care, I still fall off the wagon every now and then.
Fast forward a little over a month later, and all 100 girls (and more) have scholarships, and the campaign is over. I’m so relieved and excited, but I also realize that I’m completely burned out (again)! So I started Whole30, which is now turning into Whole60, I started going to yoga again, which began with restorative yin yoga, and I reinstated bookends to my day (morning and nighttime rituals). I planned time with friends, and gave myself permission to do a social media detox (eeek!).
Looking back on my campaign, I would have done a couple things differently: I would have scheduled self care and social days into the campaign schedule.
I noticed that when all I did was work, I was actually less productive and focused, but felt like I couldn’t be the one to just take a break myself.
When these breaks are planned into the campaign schedule, it makes it so much easier to follow through and give myself the go-ahead to actually take them!
Simple things like celebrating the small wins (schedule this!), drinking lots of water, creating simple non-negotiable morning and evening routines (journaling/reading, a few minutes of meditation, and gratitude), and going to bed early make a world of difference. When you’re burned out, you won’t be able to help anyone else. Be easy on yourself because the world needs your gifts!
I’m glad I figured this out during this first campaign, because we will be running the campaign every year! Now I know what to do for next year, and I hope that this encourages you to show yourself grace and compassion during big launches, campaigns, and projects, as well!
Feature image by Valerie Moreno, other images by Eun Creative