Why you need a break as a volunteer?

From helping one day a week to spending two years abroad, volunteering has been part of my life for many years now. I love the causes that I support and I feel doing it.

But from time to time, I take a break and refill myself with new motivations.

Taking a break as a volunteer is essential, volunteering is a full-time job, and as you need vacations from your job, you need vacations from your volunteering.

It doesn’t matter if you help your community once a month or if you traveled to another country to dedicate six months to a non-profit, you need to find the time to breathe.

If you are a full-time volunteer, I will recommend taking a break after 3 months and come back full of energy, on the other hand, if you give your time every once in a while, I will recommend having some rest after a full year.

Why do you need to take a break? How is this going to help your dedication? I’m giving you 6 reasons that will benefit you and the cause you are helping if you take a break.

1. Refresh your brain

Going away is really important for yourself and for the cause you are dedicating your time to, it is really necessary to step out and think about other stuff.

Dedicating hours of your day to a cause can be really exhausted for your brain and your soul.

Every post on the internet about dealing with a creativity block will tell you to step back for a while to break that block, go for a run, take a shower, listen to music… then come back and be the best version of yourself.

The same thing when you are a volunteer, step back, go to the beach for the weekend, take some vacation and come back stronger than ever.

2. Time for yourself

Volunteering is definitely not about you, it’s about helping others. That’s an amazing tweet or an Instagram post, but not completely true.

Volunteering is also about you as a person, to be able to help others you have to be comfortable with yourself. 

Dedicating time for yourself is not selfish, it’s smart.

It took me time to understand this when I was a full-time volunteer. We focus so much on the cause or on accomplishing a project that we forget about taking care of ourselves, that’s unacceptable!

Feeling good is what makes the volunteer experience awesome, so treat yourself as a priority.

3. Time to look around

You take the volunteer so seriously and passionately that you forget to look around.  That is good for a short time, but it will consume you little by little.

During these years abroad, I met a lot of volunteers who didn’t visit the country where they were volunteering, unbelievable right? But sadly true, they become so obsessed with the project and so tired that they didn’t have the strength to go anywhere else.

Take some days off and discover where you are, the cause will be there when you come back. And you will feel much better because you finally will know-how is the place where you are volunteering.

You will relate more to the people and understand better their situation, it’s a win-win.


4. Rethink your why

When taking a break it is nice to think about what brings you to volunteer in the first place.

Find your passion again!

You’ve spent so much time volunteering that it becomes a routine, that’s not going to help anyone.

Volunteering is good, it’s what you are supposed to do, it’s returning to the community what they give you… all these reasons are definitely true, but volunteering is more than that, it’s a passion that fills you inexplicably.

From time to time, take some distance and consider your motivations and reasons for volunteering, find what makes you passionate about it and breathe that energy again!

5. Unexpected results

Having a break can also bring you unexpected results like new ideas, a revelation, new friends with whom share the cause, time to research, or to attend seminars… The list is endless!

You never know what can come out of this time that you are resting for your volunteering.

6. Are you ready to come back?

After your break, don’t jump into your cause in a rush, don’t start another monthly commitment right away, especially if you don’t feel it.

If after that time off you still don’t feel the passion or you just feel an obligation to return, maybe that’s not your cause and it’s ok.

It’s plenty of volunteer opportunities and non-profit organizations that need volunteers.

You can find volunteering spots almost everywhere in the world, so don’t feel obligated to come back to the same one just because your friend goes there or because you’ve been a supporter for the last year, it’s okay to say no!

Go on the internet and find that organization that makes you feel excited and enthusiastic again, it can be on a farm or in a school, it can be with children or animals, the options are boundless.

The only important thing it’s that you believe in the cause and inspire you!

Did you have more tips and advice? Leave a comment


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