Do you feel sad, tired and stressed out? Are you overwhelmed by all the things you have to do?
No, this is not an advertisement for an antidepressant. These signs could indicate that you're suffering from a silent epidemic: volunteer burnout.
There is no end to the ways you can over-commit yourself and you're certainly not alone. Many adults have trouble using the word "No." So, you end up coaching your kids' soccer teams, helping out in their classrooms, designing the school yearbook, reading stories at the library and serving as a field trip chaperone. Or perhaps you counsel troubled youth, walk dogs at the animal shelter, run fundraisers for charitable organizations, organize political campaigns and serve on your condo board.
These are all good things, right? Of course they are. But like many good things -- such as exercise, chocolate, sleep and ice cream -- too much volunteering can sometimes be a bad thing. Moderation is key.
Saying no is difficult, especially if you think your answer is going to disappoint someone. But it's necessary since spreading yourself too thin can be a bad thing for you and the recipient(s) of your volunteer efforts. It's best to be sensible about your time so that you're able to maintain the energy and desire to honor the commitments you make.
No matter how many basketball jerseys need to be ordered or how many invitations need to be mailed for the fundraiser, there are ways to maintain balance. You need to ask yourself how much you can truly take on and whether it's something that can be delegated to somebody else. This will be your key to avoiding volunteer burnout.
Read on to find out if you've truly gotten yourself out of whack.