Simple tips for managing nonprofit stressMissionBox co-founder and CEO Kathryn Engelhardt-Cronk tackles the issue of managing the stress and pressures that commonly come with working for a nonprofit in her new column Self-Care: Simple Tips for Managing Nonprofit Stress. We invite MissionBox readers to share their ideas and responses, which may be published here as well.
The opinions offered here are based on the author's personal nonprofit experience and may not reflect the opinions of MissionBox, Inc. These opinions should not be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for professional legal consultation.
“Hug a baby” is really a metaphor for giving and receiving, welcome physical contact with an appropriate person. That person can be a child, a friend, a co-worker or a partner. And that contact doesn’t have to be sexual in nature or even prolonged or intense.
People working in nonprofits understand that stress can be high and there are often too few hands to get the job done. We also work long hours as well, with business calls or emails permeating our evenings and weekends.
If this sounds too familiar, you may need more hugs from friends and family. Work stress can bring headaches, sleeplessness, anger and irritability. Over time chronic stress can have an even greater impact on our health, leading to depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and anxiety disorder.
One surprisingly easy way to reduce stress and its negative impact on your mind and body is as simple as a hug. Human touch is found to reduce cortisol (the “fight or flight” hormone), increases oxytocin and lower systolic blood pressure.
Maybe some nonprofit staff intuitively know this: hence the “hugginess” of so many nonprofit employees as compared to their for-profit counterparts. Let’s keep this up: a welcome, supportive hug or pat on the shoulder can make a difference. It’s doing more good for us and others than we imagined.
CEO, MissionBox Inc.
ps. We all know too well that there is plenty of the wrong kind of unwanted physical contact going on in our workplaces That is definitely NOT the type of touch I am talking about and not what this Self-Care article is about. Read this DoubleTake about my experience with sexual harassment at a nonprofit.
What do our nonprofit readers think? We would love to hear about your own ways of handling nonprofit stress. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.