NOT AS HAPPY AS YOU DESERVE
Let’s change that! Scroll down for your keys to happier volunteering.
You are AWESOME
As a school parent volunteer, your caring, creativity, time, and effort help the kids achieve more and be happier doing it!
With such a great cause, it’s natural to expect that volunteering will bring more happiness and fulfillment than stress.
Volunteering is a natural happiness booster
Science shows that helping others prompts our bodies to produce endorphins, those “feel good” chemicals that give us a nice little buzz.
So, with all the work you do, you should be flying pretty high, right?
Except there are some big challenges weighing you down -- including ones that are not just up to you. (If only we had a magic wand for getting other people to do what we want, right?)
Your keys to happier volunteering
Do more good things for YOU – It’s hard to serve others if your “cup” is running dry from stress and overwork. Take time daily to trigger more of those “feel good” endorphins that boost happiness and reduce stress. I know you’re busy, so here are some quick, science-backed ways to care for yourself as you help others:
Share more – Sharing laughs is a great way to brighten your day and relieve stress. Studies also show that sharing your concerns and ideas -- especially with people in similar situations – also reduces stress.
If you could use some extra support and inspiration, from friendly volunteers who really get where you’re coming from, check out the PTO / PTA Super Star Leaders Facebook Group. Such a great place to get and give help, share some laughs, and always feel appreciated!
Thank more – You deserve a ton of thanks for your hard work. And I know you thank others for helping too. But did you know that you can thank your way to more happiness AND more help?
Thanking people isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s a powerful WIN WIN WIN. First, it triggers feel-good endorphins for you. Second and third, in the person you’re thanking, it triggers feel-good endorphins PLUS a serious spike in helping behavior:
Researchers…studied the impact of a sincere ‘Thank You’ in the workplace. Their findings show a 50 percent increase in the amount of additional help being offered as a result of the appreciation. (HuffPo)
Say what? 50% more help just for sincere thank yous? Yes, please!
Meditate – Not because it’s even more popular than kale these days! Meditation melts away stress and is easier than you might think. I never thought I’d meditate. But I was desperate to help my son cope with school anxiety and stop raging at video games (last resort before giving them away) and felt obligated to try it with him. We both started feeling and dealing better right away and are still benefiting six months into it.
Bonus - With apps like Calm and Headspace, you can also meditate while exercising or doing chores or work. That’s right! Updating a bulletin board? Clipping box tops? Writing an email blast? Meditate your stress away. Even a few minutes a day helps.
Give ‘til it feels good, not ‘til it hurts – When you care deeply about a cause, and it’s hard to get more help, it’s easy to stretch yourself to the breaking point. If you want to avoid burnout, here are proven ways to lighten your load.
Get more volunteers – I hope you didn’t just spit out your coffee (or kale smoothie?) at the obviousness of that advice! Yes, getting busy parents to volunteer is harder than ever -- especially for Board positions. But it’s still totally doable.
Check out my Parent Involvement Success Blueprint and blog for proven volunteer recruitment steps.
Make your job easier – Getting more volunteers to share the load is key. But you can also save lots of hours and stress using done-for-you tools and templates. Yes! With enough time, you could do the research and create all the flyers and spreadsheets and checklists and more that you need to succeed, from scratch. But when PTO life and the rest of life is whizzing at you, grab-n-go resources let you get things done AND stay sane.
Check out these ready-to-use, stress-saving (and I can’t forget beautiful!) templates and planners – If you don’t have time to recreate ALL the wheels, I can’t recommend these leader-tested tools from Christina Hidek / PTO Answers highly enough.
How can I help you volunteer happier?
I want to help you achieve your PTO goals through less work shared by more (happy) volunteers. In other words, I just want you to be the happiest volunteer you can be. You deserve it!
So, let’s hear it. What PTO thing is just driving you up a tree? I’d love to hear from you and help. :)
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