Volunteering is heartfelt, motivating, and empowering. It is also draining, exhausting, and disheartening. Volunteers have their reasons for quitting or taking a pause from volunteering. Those reasons range from time constraints to burnout. Identifying signs that we may be approaching a level of burnout as a GOTR coach is important. We may start thinking about not returning next season, even when our drive is to keep making a difference in young girls’ lives. Using some simple strategies throughout the season can help us empower each other and keep our star power IGNITED season after season.
★ SIGNS of Volunteer Burnout (state of chronic stress):
Loss of drive and motivation can occur in many forms. A feeling of dread creeping in before a practice. Tardiness and absenteeism show a detachment from volunteering. Becoming more cynical about parts of the volunteering will discourage motivation from within and show outwardly.
Feeling a loss of enjoyment in the work/volunteering that was once fulfilling. Signs of irritability demonstrate a loss of patience that was once there and aided in the flow of practice and/or the volunteer work.
Having other life stresses can compound the volunteer burnout. This will exhaust the energy that is spent on volunteering and work. Various health concerns will arise pertaining to physical ailments, mental health patterns, overly moody and emotional. Burnout impacts the family and puts strains on the ones we love and care for most.
Plan check-ins with a friend, family member, or other coach. Planning regular happy hours or coffee dates to check-in about practices and the GOTR season is helpful in relieving tension and common frustrations. Life check-ins with family and close friends form healthy habits that encourage positive mental and emotional health.
Become flexible with the life schedule of things by allowing breaks from responsibilities. Overloading a schedule with family responsibilities, work performance, volunteer accountabilities, and friend/family obligations will frazzle anyone. Taking a break from any part of life alleviates pressure and relinquishes tension.
Developing and utilizing a self-care plan is the best defense against burnout. A self-care plan draws the focus inward when so much effort and energy goes outward. Self-care happens throughout the day, in the midst of daily routines, and can be planned and spontaneous. Self-care plans can be as simple as listing 10 minute activities or as elaborate as weekly/monthly goals. Provide a balance of activities that target 4-7 of the areas of self-care:
Call a friend
Break from news/social media
Add house plants
Diffuse essential oils
Create a sacred space
Join a sport league
Plan a staycation or vacation
Spend time with a pet
Chat with neighbors
Happy hour or Coffee date
Join a book club
The world needs volunteers to help keep it healthy and happy. Volunteering creates spaces in our communities that empower, encourage, and uplift people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. It is important to keep your GOTR coach's heart thriving and healthy! Noticing the signs of burnout and committing to healthy self-care habits is crucial to the balance of a GOTR coach’s energy and effort. Pushing the burnout clouds away and IGNITING our shining stars is what brings us back season after season! Keep up your amazingness!
Shayla A is the Coach Mentor for Girls on the Run Kansas City. Her background comes from the classroom, coaching, day treatment schools, wellness, and advocating for children with special needs. She enjoys empowering and advocating for girls and coaches in every challenge and celebration. Connect with her for support and assistance this season via Leigh Krtek.
BOOK LIST TO DIVE DEEPER INTO SELF-CARE PRACTICE AND AVOIDING BURNOUT:
TO WATCH A VIDEO ON HOW TO AVOID BURNOUT:
We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Non-profit girl empowerment after-school program for girls.
11880 College Blvd. Ste. 201
Overland Park, KS 66210