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Essential Worker

Giving to depletion

For this month’s blog we were asked to volunteer and write about our experience.

I felt an instant pushback. A huge part in me was saying, NOOOOOO!!!!

In 2008 I was working, volunteering and raising children. I was the good girl who thought her job was to take care of everyone else. I was the helper, the rock. Nothing was too much and I didn’t know how to say no.

In my volunteer positions I felt needed, important. I was an essential worker AND it feels great to give.

It was all too much. I burnt out and almost quit life – this is a common story, especially for people who have experienced domestic violence.


Boundaries and self- worth often go hand in hand.

When I got sick in 2008, I was forced to say No. I had to stop everything and let people down. I had to focus all my energy on getting well and learn how to self-care.

And set boundaries.

Over the years, my self-worth has grown and my ‘giving to depletion’ part doesn’t have control anymore.

Getting sick was a wake-up call to start caring for myself as much as I cared for others.

AND the hardest, yet just as important, was to allow others to care for me.

Chewing it over

So, I had to decide: would I take up this challenge or not?

I can say no to this challenge, I told myself.

Volunteering was something I needed to think deeply about.

So, what exactly is volunteering?

According to Volunteering Australia, volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.

I do this regularly in my normal life and it’s ok. I don’t feel burnt out or overcommitted and I do say no when I need to.

I think I can do this?

Taking the leap

An opportunity came up for me to volunteer my time and skills with an organisation I felt honoured to represent. I was excited to be part of this and anxious about taking on too much.

The day was beautiful, and I was able to support others and be supported. I felt part of a special team.

I had a chance to practise my public speaking skills and leadership skills, both getting better with practice and support.

I was able to connect with new people and offer others a unique experience, and I wasn’t responsible for the world.

I allowed myself to receive and I knew I could say No.

This volunteering isn’t so bad after all.

My reminders

This month’s task has reminded me that:

  • My automatic pilot is set to Give, so my task is to ensure I Receive too.

  • I am not responsible for the world. I can step back and say No.

  • There are things I will miss out on and that’s ok. My work/life/home balance is essential.

  • Volunteering is wonderful as long as I don’t give to depletion and I listen to my inner self.

  • Some people really do care about me and support me.


This Blog is a part of the Blogging GEMS program, you can read more survivor GEMS Blogs:

Gratitude Blogs:

Exercise Blogs

Mindfulness Meditation Blogs:

Service and Support Blogs

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