5 Traits of Great Volunteer Team Members: Energy
Even on a short volunteer trip, it can seem like you’ve expended more energy in a week than in the entire month before you left. Here are 5 ways to keep your energy up on a volunteer trip:
1. Take care of pre-trip health concern
Get vaccinated if required or recommended by your doctor. Make sure you have necessary amounts of prescription medication and any over-the-counter medicines you may need. You can visit the Centers for Disease Control website to find out which vaccines you may need for a specific country.
2. Build up your physical endurance and strength
If you know you will be engaging in physically demanding activities, exercise at home in the months and weeks prior to your trip so that your body is not in shock when you begin pushing it hard. Try these basic exercies to help build your endurance:
- Brisk walking or jogging
- Yard work (mowing, raking, digging)
- Climbing stairs or hills
- Light weight lifting or anaerobic activities
3. Get enough sleep
This means resting up before your trip and avoiding late-night packing. If you’re flying overseas and jet lag is a concern, consider taking some melatonin to help you sleep on the flight and to get you on track with the time zone of our destination country. Pack earplugs and an eye mask to help you sleep better in close quarters.
4. Eat well and stay hydrated
Eating well can be extremely challenging while traveling and once you arrive in a new culture with different eating habits and foods you aren’t used to eating. There are simple ways you can avoid getting sick while eating abroad, but experts recommend packing healthy, high-protein snacks like nuts, berries, jerky and granola bars. You may also consider taking a multi-vitamin to ensure you’re getting your proper nutrition. And most importantly, don’t forget to drink as much water as possible, especially if you’re working outdoors or staying in a hot climate.
5. Schedule in time for rest and recuperation
It’s tempting to want to push yourself past your limits and work 24/7 while on a volunteer trip. But exhausting yourself will actually make your work suffer after a few days. Be sure to schedule in the time to rest and recuperate. On team trips, consider having at least one person scheduled for down time at all times. That way, no one feels like they’re letting down the team. Rest and recuperation time is also a great opportunity to center yourself and reconnect with your purpose for volunteering in the first place.
Photo: Rhiannon Hasenauer, Volunteer Card Member