Thursday, November 1, 2012

Don't Forget to Breathe

sometimes i get going 
in so many directions that i forget
to stop

and just breathe

This morning I woke feeling crushed. That I was doing too much. And neglecting myself. So I took the day for myself. I read a book. I ignored the ever-growing pile of dishes. I wrote some notes for friends. I relaxed.

Oftentimes, I feel my volunteer work is so much more "work" than working ever was. Not because I dread it, but because it wrenches your soul. I see kids at breakfast club asking for another bagel, wrapping it in a napkin and shoving it into their backpack, eyes darting to make sure no one sees them "stealing". I see moms packing their children off for school at the shelter looking guilty and ashamed as they show their kids how to pull their hands inside the sleeves of their jacket to keep their hands warm. I listen to addicts apologize as they work up their next hit right in front of you because they just can't wait anymore.

It's easy to see why volunteers get burnt out. Not always because of being overworked but because of the nature of the work itself.

So as I start to organize my holiday calendar, scheduling family, work and volunteer commitments, I am making a concentrated effort to schedule Melissa-time. Since I'm a shopper, chances are most of those time blocks will be devoted to spending quality time within the aisles of my favourite thrift and book stores.

Do you make an effort to schedule time for yourself or do you take it as it comes? Do you have any suggestions on how volunteers can recharge their batteries to avoid burnout?

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