5 ways to look after yourself while volunteering

Volunteering can be a rewarding way to give to others and to learn some new skills. But it's also important to look after yourself. We asked some ReachOut volunteers and staff for their tips on how to look after yourself when donating your time.

This can help if:

  • you’re interested in volunteering

  • you’ve been volunteering for a while and are feeling burnt out

  • you’re getting stressed from having too many commitments.

Young people using computers in computer lab

1. Organise your time

Time is a big factor in making sure your volunteer experience is rewarding. To stay on top of everything, make sure you plan ahead. Keep a diary, update your calendar or set reminders on your phone to make sure you don't over-schedule your time.

2. Know your limits

Be aware of the limits to your energy levels, time and skills. Learn to recognise when you're starting to feel overwhelmed or outside of your comfort zone.

3. It’s okay to say ‘no’

Don't feel guilty if you have to say ‘no’ once in a while! Learning to be organised with your time also means learning how to say ‘no’. It's important to prioritise tasks and commitments, so that you can make smart decisions about what you can and can't do in any particular week.

4. Have some fun

Volunteering should be something you enjoy doing, not just because it's rewarding, but because you have fun doing it. Use the time to make new friends and get involved in activities you know you'll enjoy. Don't be shy about suggesting a new and exciting project to the rest of your team, and be sure to share some laughs!

5. Treat yourself

Volunteering your time to help with something you're passionate about can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. While you're spending a lot of your energy giving back, it's super-important also to look after yourself. Schedule time out to do other things you love to do and for relaxing.

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