Famed football coach Lou Holtz once said, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
Nonprofit managers are actually a lot like football players, when you think about it. But, they have less padding to keep them comfortable. They have to be quick on their feet, willing to adapt to a new game plan, and they have to be willing to charge forward even in the face of uncertainty.
Needless to say, managing a nonprofit organization is stressful at times. In 2018, 63 million Americans volunteered with nonprofits, which is incredible. But, it’s a lot of people to train, monitor, and keep track of. Then there is the constant issue of funding. On top of that, this year has been extra stressful due to COVID-19. Now, nonprofit managers are having to be more digitally resilient to stay connected with volunteers and board members and to continue their mission.
One way to combat the stress of managing a nonprofit is with mindfulness. Practicing informed mindfulness helps to make you more self-aware and makes it easier to self-regulate. By combining mindfulness with other relaxing activities each day, you can reduce your stress and focus more on what’s important.
The Dangers of Too Much Stress
Everyone has stress. Some can even be a good thing. But, too much stress can actually be dangerous and cause both physical and mental issues, including:
- Muscle pain
- Digestive problems
- Sleep issues
Stress can also cause a rise in your blood pressure, which could weaken your circulation, increase the appearance of varicose veins, and make it harder for your blood to pump efficiently throughout your body.
The scariest part about prolonged stress is that it can leave lasting effects on your mind and body if you’re not taking active steps to reduce it. If every day feels overwhelming, using mindfulness and other stress-reducing techniques can help you to keep these symptoms under control.
Mindfulness can reduce the risk of almost all of these things. It improves your mental health, lowers blood pressure, and can even improve your sleep.
Finding Inspiration Every Day
Mindfulness causes you to pause and focus on the present. Instead of thinking about the past or worrying about the future, you remain in the present moment and let thoughts come and go like passing clouds.
You can also focus on other ways to alleviate stress on a daily basis. Creating a routine for yourself is a fantastic way to feel more in control when times get chaotic or uncertain. Start each day with an inspirational, motivational quote, especially one that pertains to your passion.
Reducing stress has a lot to do with self-care. Everything from making sure you’re getting enough sleep to staying physically active can help you to feel less anxious and overwhelmed.
Try to do one thing every day that you enjoy, even if you only have a few minutes to do it.
Slow down. Take breaks. Focus on why you love what you do and consider all of the people you’re helping on a daily basis. But, if your stress levels become too problematic, it can also be a good idea to reach out for help, yourself. Talking to someone in your inner circle or even a mental health professional can help you to manage your stress levels in healthy ways. By working with a mental health professional, you can even learn more about mindfulness and how to include it in your everyday life.
Using Tech to Your Advantage
When you’re managing a nonprofit, there’s a good chance you already have your phone attached to you almost all the time. While technology can feel a little chaotic at times, using tech to your advantage can actually help you to fight stress and take breaks in your day to be more mindful.
For example, apps like Breathe2Relax (available for iOS and Android) are great for making sure you’re breathing deeply and properly during moments of mindfulness. Instructional videos and different exercises can help you to calm down and focus on the present in a matter of minutes. Other useful apps that can help you to overcome stress and anxiety each day include:
General wellness apps like Mint, Health Tap, and Sleep Cycle can help you to manage other areas of stress in your life. They can ensure you’re taking care of yourself, managing your finances, and getting enough rest to take on the world with your nonprofit.
Stress will always be there in a nonprofit setting. But, you’re doing something amazing. If you manage a nonprofit and you’re under a lot of stress, consider some of these mindfulness tips and find other ways to de-stress each day. By making your health and wellness a priority, you can do more to take care of others who need it most.
About the Author
Jori Hamilton is an experienced freelance writer from the Northwestern U.S. Coming from a marketing background, she enjoys writing about business and marketing strategies but has a particular passion for all things technology related, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cybersecurity, Data Analysis, and Cloud Computing. You can follow Jori on Twitter and LinkedIn.