10 Practices for More Impact with Less Burnout

Yesterday, my co-author Beth Kanter and I gave our first joint presentation on some of the content we’ve been compiling and writing for our new book together, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: 10 Strategics for Impact Without Burnout. Our assignment was to come up with 10 concrete things anyone could start doing today to bring more awareness to one’s health and wellbeing and apply self-care techniques to different aspects of one’s life.

We framed the areas of our lives where we need to pay attention and practice self-care as the 5 Spheres of Happy Healthy. As human beings, we are affected by and influenced by our relationships, both internal and external. How we interact with ourselves, with others and with our surroundings and other elements has a direct impact on our wellbeing.

These are the 5 Spheres of Happy Healthy we shared:

5 spheres happy healthy

And these are The 10 Practices we discussed:

  1. Create A Self Care Bill of Rights
  2. Understand and Apply Habit Change Frameworks
  3. Get Enough Sleep
  4. Get Moving
  5. Embrace Mindfulness
  6. Manage Your Energy and Attention
  7. Integrate Tech Wellness
  8. Stop Procrastination
  9. Set Limits
  10. Create Your Self-Care Plan

You can go through our slides below and find a few more resources on our Happy Healthy Nonprofit Site.

Let’s Talk Tech Wellness

I’m particularly interested in the topic of Tech Wellness.

I’ve denied the idea of Tech Addiction – especially for myself because Tech is part of my JOB – but have more recently become keenly aware of how my relationship with Tech has actually hurt me. After being such a cheerleader for Tech and Internet adoption over the years, talking about this sometimes feels almost blasphemous. But like anything we absolutely love, moderation – and mindfulness – is the key to getting more benefits than harm out of anything.

An important part of Tech Wellness is developing better habits around how we use technology daily and that includes changing from a mindless use of smartphones and mobile devices to being more in control, more aware, more mindful.

One thing I did at home to consciously remove temptations that I had – and that my family had – around mobile devices was to set up a charging station at our entryway.

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Now we can’t reach mindlessly and constantly for our devices and instead we have to stop what we are doing and walk through the house to the charging station to get our devices. They aren’t charging in our bedrooms, and they don’t distract us from our conversations.

Are we perfect about this? No, but by making some small changes at home, we are more aware of the amount of time we spend on our devices, and it helps keep rude interruptions to a minimum. This can be applied at work as well.

Being More Mindful

I’ve also tried to finally (finally!) get into practices of meditation and yoga.

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My health practitioners have recommended meditation and yoga to me for years, but I’ve always made excuses and ignored their advice – I just couldn’t “get into” meditation or yoga, couldn’t find the time, couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Then I discovered Meditation apps and found that I could use them at my desk or while sitting on a plane or in my hotel room on a business trip or even before I went to bed, and suddenly I was meditating.

And now scientists are finding out that meditating can literally change your brain by increasing your gray matter in your frontal cortex which is associated with working memory and executive decision making.

In terms of yoga, my yoga “practice” is very off and on, but I started doing what I call “BOGA” every morning before I get out of bed.

When my alarm goes off, I start a slow series of stretches while still lying in bed, stretching my feet, legs, hip flexors, torso, neck, shoulders, arms, and fingers, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds. I finish this ritual by sitting up and folding over, touching my toes and holding that stretch for 30 seconds. The entire ritual takes about 5 minutes, then I’m ready to start my day.

Doing what is good for you doesn’t have to be hard.

You will be hearing a lot from us about Happy Healthy practices for nonprofits but many of these concepts, principles and practices apply to all of us.

I hope you’ll join us on our journey to Happy Healthy this year! [See where you can meet up with us at several upcoming conferences.]

How are you applying Self-Care practices at home or work this year?

Also check out:

  1. Beth’s post – http://www.bethkanter.org/10-practices/

  2. Wild Apricot page – http://www.wildapricot.com/academy/expert-webinar-series/the-happy-healthy-nonprofit-10-tips-for-impact-without-burnout


  1. Frances Roen

    I was recently introduced to a meditation app by my husband. It is such a great way to recenter and focus anytime you have a few minutes to spare. Another quick self-care wellness trick is simply to get up from your desk and take a quick walk through your parking lot or around the block. Sunlight and fresh air does wonders for focus , creativity, and de-stressing! Great job on keeping wellness on the minds of non-profit professionals!

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