Let’s take a few minutes and jot down some reasons why we as volunteers may feel burnt out. Have participants post on wall and review together as a group.
So we are not just talking about being stressed out – which manifests itself as well in similar ways. We are talking one step beyond Stress or Stress times ten!
…Burning the Candle at Both Ends. Burnout is the result of many things – the most common is trying to do too many things at the same time. We all seem to think we have the ability to multi-task but research tells us that it’s not really possible despite our attempts to do it!
Working too much, with no time for relaxing and socializing Being expected to be too many things to too many people Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others Lack of close, supportive relationships Not getting enough sleep
Volunteers who Burnout may have: Perfectionistic tendencies; nothing is ever good enough Pessimistic view of themselves and the world The need to be in control ; reluctance to delegate to others High-achieving, Type A personality
It’s important to remember your motivation for joining Girl Scouts and not to lost sight of that reason. Spending more time with your daughter, putting your talents to use, etc. If you’re not playing the role you thought you would or wanted to – why not? And how can you find your way back to the path you were on when you joined Girl Scouts?
In addition to knowing your own motivation, its important to know what motivates your girls, their parents, or other volunteers you work with. What makes them tick? If you’re running a troop – ask parents what they expect from troop activities. What do they hope girls will learn. It may seem like such as obvious question but its not. Ask girls the same things. The motivation of parents and their daughters may not be the same, in fact they probably won’t be. We often think we know what others want but its best to ask and know for sure. Then use that knowledge to reward and keep girls and adults motivated When everyone is on the same page it creates less stress. It’s also an opportunity to change direction for both your troop or yourself as a volunteer if that’s needed.
We often feel like we are walking the road along and no one can hear us or is paying attention. Women are especially prone to wanting to do things themselves and be responsible. We rarely ask people around us for help – and when we do its seldom the people in position to actually do us any good. Think about reaching out to your community chair, girl mentor, (list other positions) or your regional team at Council. Do you know what all these people can do for your community? (perhaps we can review the list of community positions to get some conversation started?)
Then when you find help – Delegate, Delegate, Delegate – and don’t make everything your responsibility. Let others help you be successful. Many hands make light work – always be thinking about what you can get others to do for you as a volunteer. Don’t keep everything important for yourself to do – that’s a quick ticket to Burnout. If you’re not good at asking for help – don’t fear - it does get easier. You can always develop a list of things that need to get done and ask for people to volunteer for specific tasks to get things started. Then stand back and let people do the work. Don’t micromanage and tell them how to do things. You told them what you needed and they can decide the best way to do it!
Keep the lines of communication open – don’t rely on others to share your message. How many of you have played telephone? You know that that situation is less than ideas. Once you’ve established a network of people you can rely on to help you - Or more likely you’ve found that one awesome co-leader and one exceptional parent it’s critical that you communicate well and frequently to keep them in the loop. How you choose to communicate or establish communication is also important. Some people like phone calls, some like e-mail, some want to text and others are all about Facebook. Know what people prefer and if you don’t try an assortment of communication strategies to engage people. Once you know how someone wants to stay connected, honor that choice and use that method as your primary mode of communication.
You’ve heard on No Child Left Behind – well this is no Girl Scout Left Behind. We are All For One and One For All! (recite Girl Scout Law with special emphasis on last line. In others words you need to rely on others to help you and your troop be successful. And you will be in the position to return the favor someday. Once you’ve started to build a network of assistance and once you’ve identified your methods and modes of communication – stick with it. Small changes like varying the night of your meeting, or the time of your meeting can have an adverse affect on your troop or community activities. If you work through important decisions as a group you will get better long term results. And sometimes when you’re making important decisions it takes a while to make the right decision. Remember that you’re doing this as a team – and people will respond better than to a decision made by one person or a small group of people that is then thrust upon others.
Don’t sweat the small stuff… If a particular activity isn’t working – it’s ok to do it a different way. Having a Plan B, C, and D can help ensure stress-free meetings and events. Also it’s important to have realistic expectations so that we’re not setting ourselves up for disappointment.
Have you ever seen this look before? This look means things are not going as planned are they? And it’s important to recognize when things aren’t going well and acknowledging this , if only to ourselves, that there’s no saving a particular activity or event. Know when to throw in the towel and join the mutiny – how many of you have done this? It’s hard isn’t it – to leave your activity behind perhaps never to be revisited but remember that the needs of the girls or adults you’re working with are far more important than checking an item off a list. (insert song activity)
Here we see Juliette Low pinning an insignia or medal on a Girl Scout who has earned it. It’s important to recognize that volunteers (parents or other adults) who work hard have “earned” the right to be recognized in some way. So reward supporters – parents or other volunteers - for good work. Recognizing others – and even yourself – helps to keep motivation high. Build in time to have girls recognize each other and the adults who help them to build empathy and role model what good behavior looks like. (Insert “How do you like to be rewarded?” Activity)
There’s ziplining and then there’s superwoman ziplining like this brave woman. Taking time to relax and have fun– with other volunteers or with your friends is critical to keeping burnout at bay! What are some ways that you have fun and relax a bit in your Girl Scout work? (take time to solicit ideas from participants) In the community that Maryann and I come from – we carve out time in the year to have a Leader Retreat to recharge the batteries of our volunteers. And this year we’ll have a weekend away for the Leader Retreat Planning group to take the time we need out of our schedules to make Girl Scouts a priority and have some fun at the same time.
Everyone is different so each of us here today has a different path to take.
Let’s talk about taking a break from technology? Why do you think that’s important in preventing burnout? According to an article in Complex.com “There may be something innately violent about the structure of social media, a platform that favors confrontation and dissension as much as it does peaceful community building. “Researchers found that "bad information is processed more thoroughly than good. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones." http://www.complex.com/tech/2013/09/twitter-shooters-social-media
The purpose of this peaceful place relaxation script is to relax your mind and guide you to imagine your own peaceful, safe place. This place will be an imaginary area that you can visualize to help calm and relax your mind when you are feeling stressed. Begin by setting aside a few minutes so that you can relax without having anything else you need to focus on. Find a comfortable position. For the next few moments, focus on calming your mind by focusing on your breathing. Allow you breathing to center and relax you. Breathe in.... and out. In..... out..... (Use separate script for this activity)
What’s Your Next Step - what resonated here with you today? What can you do differently to be sure that you don’t suffer Burnout?
Thank you ladies – have a great day! And remember….. Changing your perspective can make all the difference in the world!
Combating burnout for girl scout volunteers
The Discovery Conference
Saturday, October 19, 2013
What Causes of Burnout?
• Working too much without breaks for fun
• Being expected to be too many things to
too many people
• Taking on too many responsibilities
• Lack of close, supportive relationships
• Not getting enough sleep
Online Source- www.helpguide.org
Contributing Personality Traits
Volunteers who Burnout may have:
• Perfectionist tendencies
• Pessimistic view of themselves and the
• The need to be in control
• High-achieving, Type A personality
Online Source- www.helpguide.org
Try These Burnout Prevention Tips
• Start/End the day with a relaxing ritual
• Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and
• Take a daily break from technology
• Nourish your creative side
• Set boundaries
Online Source- www.helpguide.org
A Tool to Combat Burnout
Found online @ http://www.innerhealthstudio.com/visualization-scripts.html