The work of a volunteer is no easy task. They form a critical part to the success of non-profit operations. Hence, you expect volunteers to experience a great deal of stress. When you are involved in volunteer work overseas, you should do your best to alleviate the situation and eliminate stress. Whether stress is due to being in an unfamiliar territory or from your responsibilities as a volunteer, it is important to learn how to defy it.
What Causes Stress?
Before you tackle the problem head on, you must be able to understand where stress is coming from. The most common factors cited as reason for volunteer stress is competing demands, overload of responsibilities, conflict with fellow volunteers, and poor management, to name a few. Organizational stress is one of the most difficult to tackle with since it involves changing the dynamics of the volunteer program. The organizers have to clearly define the limits of a volunteer’s responsibility. This is true when the volunteer activities are inherently stressful, such as caring for people who are ill or traveling to remote areas to teach or provide medical care.
How to Overcome Stress
There are several strategies you can use to eliminate stress associated with volunteer work. Below are some of these noteworthy strategies:
• Improve your communication. You need to clearly define the role description for each volunteer. This will therefore enable them to know what the expectations are for their work. Hence, every part of your volunteer Nepal project is working together as one solid unit. When people feel productive about the work they do, there is not enough time for them to think about stress. In fact, it’s a good kind of stress! Check Involvement Volunteers International for more details.
• Improve policies. Even though your current policies have worked for past volunteers, it does not mean that you shouldn’t be open to the idea of revising them. Times change and the needs of the locals that you are volunteering for changes as well. Meanwhile, the people who offer volunteer work might not be the same as the ones before. Hence, you must be adaptable and be open to making revisions to your policies where you see fit.
• Be supportive. When you travel abroad to volunteer in Nepal, you are away from your family in a foreign land where you barely know anyone. The only ones with whom you can expect support from are those belonging to the same volunteer group as you are. Hence, be the pillar of support for one another. Establish a culture of support within the team to form an encouraging spirit and bond. The people you volunteer with become your family away from home.
• Provide counseling. Sometimes, when the problem is beyond the organization’s scope to resolve, it is completely fine to consider counseling. A person might be dealing with tremendous amount of stress or culture shock – whatever the reason is, a professional can provide the right amount of counseling.
Stress is a normal part of life and such is the case with Nepal travel and volunteer opportunities. But given the tips above, you should incorporate that into you volunteer management program to ensure that everyone is productive and happy!