Sustainable Work Habits and Self-Care for Busy Grant Professionals, by Egondu M. Onuoha, GPC, MS, RDN, CDN, IBCLC, CDCES, FAND, FILCA
President, GPCI Board of Directors
March 10th is International Grant Professionals Day. As we celebrate our successes as grant professionals and look to more success in the future, it becomes very important to take time to reflect on self-care, mental health and overall wellbeing. As Michael Hein quoted “Leaders are corporate athletes.” I would dare to add that “grant professionals are also corporate athletes.” The work of grant professionals requires considerable physical and emotional endurance, mental focus and determination. The demands of the job can be stressful with strict deadlines and multiple requests to keep bringing in more funding.
It is easy for grant professionals to forget to nurture and pay close attention to their body. Overtime, they may succumb to mediocre physical and emotional health. Protecting your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health with sustainable habits is imperative to reinforce a strong foundation for a productive career.
Grant writing can be a demanding and stressful job that requires a high level of focus, attention to detail, and creativity. As such, burnout is a common problem among grant professionals.
Burnout can manifest in several ways, including physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism or detachment from work, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment. Burnout can be caused by a variety of factors, including high workloads, unrealistic deadlines, and a lack of support or recognition.
Several factors can contribute to burnout for grant professionals including but not limited to:
- Heavy workload: Grant writers are often responsible for writing multiple applications at the same time, which can lead to an overwhelming workload.
- Tight deadlines: Grant applications typically have strict deadlines, which can create pressure and stress for writers.
- Rejection: Grant applications are often rejected, even after significant effort has been invested in writing them. This can be demoralizing for grant writers.
- Lack of recognition: Grant writers often work behind the scenes and may not always receive the recognition or appreciation they deserve for their work.
To prevent burnout, it is important for grant professionals to establish healthy work habits and boundaries. This may include setting realistic goals and deadlines, taking breaks and time off as needed, and seeking support and feedback from colleagues and supervisors.
Some of the strategies to renew energy, improve overall wellness and combat burnout include:
- Good Nutrition
- Adequate rest and sleep
- Proper Hydration
- Regular exercise
- Strengthening your mental fitness
- Setting appropriate boundaries – (don’t over commit/healthy work-life balance)
- Seek regulation before resolution by listening and creating space as needed
- Invest in meaningful personal relationships to help improve physical health
- Seek support
- Time management
- Engage in hobbies that you enjoy
Ultimately, preventing burnout requires a proactive approach that involves both individual self-care and organizational support. By taking care of themselves and advocating for their needs, grant professionals can continue to make a positive impact without sacrificing their own well-being.
A quote from Marianne Williamson helps to summarize, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”