Now that the year-end giving season is well underway, you’re probably feeling even more pressure to hit your goals and raise more funds than ever. You might be working more hours than usual and trying to meet additional expectations. If you’re struggling to stay on top of everything without burning out, I can see why.
Below I’ll share ten small ways you can take care of yourself during this stressful season. Hopefully you find one or some that work for you that you can use now and in the future.
Here are 10 ways you can take care of yourself during the year-end giving season.
1. Break up your tasks.
I sometimes find it’s helpful to break up big tasks into smaller tasks. As the saying goes, “How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
When you cross a task off of your to-do list, you get a sense of satisfaction that can provide motivation to keep going. So look at your big tasks, see how you can break them into smaller tasks, and give yourself as many opportunities to get that feeling of satisfaction and increase in motivation as possible!
2. Make time for laughs.
You might not be able to shrug off all of your responsibilities, but you can find something to help with those tedious tasks: humor.
Research shows that people who laugh more have less stress and a higher quality of life. One study even showed that exposure to humorous stimuli might help people power through tedious tasks.
So, what makes you laugh? It can be as simple as listening to a comedy podcast or watching a funny YouTube video. Whatever it is, set aside time each day or a few times during the week to take a mental break and have a laugh.
3. Keep the end goal in sight.
When your to-do list feels long and unmanageable, you can freeze up and do nothing at all. That’s why I recommend doing what Steven Covey says: “Begin with the end in mind.”
Knowing the end goal will help you determine what to do next. It will also give you a focal point and an anchor for when you need a reminder of what it is you’re working toward. In short: When you’re feeling bad, think of all of the good you’re doing just by crossing items off of your list!
4. Get some rest.
Going through the day exhausted can add even more stress to your life, especially if you find that it takes more effort than usual to get your work done. Even though you’re working longer hours, you might notice that your productivity actually decreases.
You might be working later than usual, but that doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly thrive on less sleep. So, if you can, get an adequate amount of rest each night.
5. Cultivate a gratitude practice.
Psychology tells us that people who practice gratitude on a regular basis have a higher sense of satisfaction in life. Taking the time to recognize the things we’re grateful for is a great way to combat all of the ways in which we feel life is “shorting us.”
This can be as simple as listing three things you’re grateful for before you go to bed, right when you get up in the morning, or when you sit down at your desk.
6. Take care of the small tasks weighing on your mind.
As I mentioned above, it can be helpful to break your big tasks up into smaller ones. However, I caution you against the urge to let some of those smaller tasks fall to the wayside.
Even though some things aren’t priorities and can certainly wait until later, there are some tasks you don’t want to put off. Think about that email sitting in your inbox; it might only take 15 minutes to read and respond to, but you put it off for weeks (while stressing about it every day). We’ve all been there! And we all know the relief that comes with finally responding to it.
Sometimes it’s just better to just spend 15 minutes knocking one task out to save yourself from future stress. It’ll also show yourself that you can accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently when you put your mind to it.
7. Surround yourself with positive people.
Chances are good that there’s a person or two within your organization who might be tap dancing on your nerves. Maybe they complain a lot. Maybe they act like they can do no wrong. Maybe they make high demands of you and then criticize you when their unrealistic expectations aren’t met.
We all know these people and how draining it can be to be around them. That’s why it’s important to, as much as you can, surround yourself with family and friends who give you energy, not drain it from you.
So look for those people who fill you up and whose positivity is contagious. If you struggle to find positive people, do what you need to do to be that positive person for yourself.
8. Start your day with affirmations.
If you’re not starting your day with affirmations, it might be time to try it out! Think about the doubts you have in your life or the things that are getting in the way of the work you need to do. Then design affirmations to counter those doubts.
For example, if you feel like you’re not capable of achieving your goals, look in the mirror every morning and say, “I am capable.” Repeat it again and again until it starts to sink in and trust that you’ll start to believe it soon—and that you’ll find yourself feeling more capable at work.
9. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness combats stress and anxiety by helping you stay centered and be present in the current moment. If there are particular moments when you’re feeling more stressed than usual, try out this mindfulness practice. Sit in a comfortable position, put your feet on the floor, and list the following things:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can feel
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
Doing this will distract your mind from feeling the weight of all you need to do and simply allow you to just be.
10. Create a comfortable environment.
One way you can combat the stress that comes from external circumstances outside of your control is to create a comfortable environment for yourself. Find the little things that bring you joy and make sure they’re present in your daily life. Whether it’s keeping your favorite warm drink nearby or watching a favorite film at the end of the day, make time for what makes you happy in the midst of your obligations.
I hope these tips help you feel more at peace during this year-end giving season!