Burnout, compassion fatigue, just plain being fed up: all of those can happen to people who devote themselves to helping others. It’s only normal to become wearied. If that weariness leads to bad work habits or health problems, the consequences are serious.
In her book “The Giving Way to Happiness,” Jenny Santi offers these 10 observations about people who help others and yet are still truly happy.
* They renew their energy by going deeper into the cause. Nonprofit leaders who stay happy find more hands-on opportunities to directly experience the positives of their work.
* They take care of themselves first. They take a break from work, do breathing exercises or find other recreational outlets.
* They know how to say no. This helps them do better with what’s already on their plate.
* They find strength in a group. A diverse network (even including pets) promotes a positive psychological state.
* They don’t suffer from “Founders’ Syndrome” and they are not “the cause.” It is critical to maintain a sense of identity outside work.
* They maintain a sense of humor. It’s a good way to deal with frustration.
* They focus on the effect they are having. They spend time with recipients and see the results of their work.
* They think win-win. They think of what they have to offer.
* They know it’s a job. And some days will be better than others.
* They have decided whether to sign a vow of poverty. Or not.