As Changemakers, it's essential to prioritize mental health, especially given the staggering numbers revealed by Mental Health America's 2022 report, which shows that almost 50 million adult Americans, nearly 20% of the population, experienced a mental illness in 2019, with over half of them not receiving any treatment. The social impact world is no exception to this alarming trend, where working with individuals in difficult life circumstances can take a toll on one's emotional well-being. In fact, a recent study found that 59.2% of nonprofit workers experience stress at work, with 85.5% acknowledging that it spills over into their personal lives.
At Pledge, one of our core values is Care. We are deeply committed to supporting individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in positively impacting the world. We believe that creating positive change starts with individuals, but we recognize the emotional challenges that being involved in supporting social causes can have. That's why, as we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to share some practical tips and strategies to help you maintain your physical, mental, and emotional well-being while working towards a better world.
1. Practicing Self-Care 💐
Self-care is crucial, especially for those who are passionate about changing the world. The urgency and importance of social issues such as cancer prevention, climate change activism, and refugee support can often lead to burnout and high-stress levels. That's why it's important to prioritize self-care and prevent burnout from happening. While it can take many forms, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Exercise, take regular breaks, and step outside when possible.
- Incorporate practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing into your routine.
- Place sticky notes with positive affirmations on your desk.
- Set healthy boundaries to prioritize your time and energy.
By taking care of yourself, you'll be better equipped to continue making a positive impact on the world.
2. Leaning On Your Community 💌
As passionate leaders, it can easily feel like you’re taking on the world alone, but the reality is that meaningful change requires the collective efforts of many individuals. Building relationships with like-minded peers and mentors in your field can provide invaluable emotional support and a sense of empathy. Sharing our struggles with others can help you gain fresh perspectives and ideas for addressing challenges. Remember, you don't have to do it all alone, and reaching out to your community for support can make all the difference in maintaining your mental and emotional well-being.
In fact, a recent survey found that 81.5% of participants found relief from work stress by feeling close to their coworkers. A healthy and supportive environment is the perfect catalyst for cooking up incredible ideas that can transform into life-changing impact!
3. Avoiding Social Good Fatigue 🙏
Leaders in the social impact space face the challenge of balancing urgency with other important aspects of their lives. Stanford University research found that prioritizing happiness, practicing self-care, and seeking help can prevent “social good fatigue”, where leaders become burnt out and lose touch with joy and passion, hindering their ability to inspire and engage others.
Whether you're a CSR strategist, a nonprofit worker, or simply someone who wants to do good, remember that your efforts, no matter how small, can make a difference. Check out the inspiring video above-featuring Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Wangari Maathai, who shares the story of the hummingbird and encourages us to do our part, no matter how small it may seem.
4. Advocating for Mental Health 🌟
Finally, raising awareness for mental health awareness and support, both for yourself and for others in your community is incredibly important. This means destigmatizing mental health issues in the social impact field while promoting access to resources and support for those who need it. Here are five incredible organizations (you can find many more here) that are championing mental health and with whom you can get involved.
- The MINDS Foundation aims to increase mental health literacy and decrease social stigma in India and the US by taking a human-centered design approach to mental health.
- Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, high-quality text-based mental health support and crisis intervention to support people in their moments of need. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is committed to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide with local chapters in all U.S. states.
- To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.
- The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation promotes mental wellness, raises awareness of stigma, provides resources and support, and offers mental health services to underserved youth.
At Pledge, we care deeply about each and every one of you and are dedicated to supporting your efforts to create a positive impact in the world. Our products are designed with the goal of making your fundraising experience as easy and stress-free as possible, so you can focus on what really matters: making a difference!