Stress in the real deal for people working in the social sector, especially for people that run organizations. We often work too many hours, personally take on too much of the stress from injustice in the world, and don't listen when our bodies are telling us to take a break. I have heard too many stories of nonprofit executive directors that die in their 50's or even 40's from stress related diseases. Many more burn out from all of the pressure and if they don't leave the field entirely, they stop contributing to their organizations and the issues that they are about at the same level because they have nothing left to give. I am not immune to this phenomenon. This fall I ignored the crappy way I was feeling and continued with 3-5 meetings a day, in addition to my regular workload because I thought it would be too much of a hassle to cancel my commitments. After doing this for a few weeks, I was completely knocked on my butt by some sort of virus that had me coughing like a seal for a month and a half and eventually losing my voice.
We need to stop treating our careers like they are a 40 year sprint. Balancing times of reflection and self-care with times of intense output and general career kickassness will leave you with a greater impact and the ability to actually enjoy that impact, rather than sitting in your bed with the flu for the 5th time this winter. Let's all stop trying to be the hero and instead be people who can actually make it through this race.