Ty and Susan talk with Kristen Rainey, the Founder and CEO of Northstar Sleep School, in this episode on "tackling burnout in teachers and nonprofit professionals"
After Susan Comfort and Tyecia “Ty” Powell each experienced burnout, they teamed up to start an organization called Nonprofit Wellness, which is focused on supporting teachers and nonprofit employees, who, in their commitment to caring for others, tend to neglect their own care.
TechSoup recently interviewed Susan and wrote this blog post with tips to make video meetings more engaging. Which strategies do YOU use to build teamwork virtually and keep online confabs interesting?
"This post will touch on the psychology behind video conferencing and how we can better connect with our colleagues in a distant virtual space. We had the pleasure of speaking with Susan Comfort, who is the founder of Comfort Consulting and co-director of NonprofitWellness.org "
Or, listen to Susan's interview with host Jakub Górnicki (Susan was the only American trainer at Megaphone2018, a TechSoup Europe conference in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, for Eastern European activists) on how to combine individual and team burnout prevention strategies.
Host Jen Arnold of Redesigning Wellness podcast says:
"In this episode, Tyecia discusses a bit of her 15 year background in the education sector, including the parts that she loved and the things that lead to her eventual burnout.
She explains some of the challenges teachers are facing both pre and post COVID as well as how administrators, parents, and other teachers can offer support.
Lastly, Tyecia touches on necessary teacher self-care and leaves wellness professionals in the educational sphere with a tangible tip on how they can help alleviate stress."
After Ty and Susan's hit Team-Care session at the 2021 National Technology Conference, Susan was featured on Nonprofit Radio w/ Tony Martignetti for the second year.
"Susan Comfort wants you to go beyond self care, which gets a lot of attention, to team care. Yes, take care of yourself, but then look after your team. She’s founder of Nonprofit Wellness, and part of our 21NTC coverage. This week’s show is shorter than usual, so you can spend more time taking care of self and team."
Or, listen to Susan and Mo Abdullah (of CultureEnergized.com) talking about team-care and remote-culture building on the 2020 Nonprofit Radio program with Tony.
"The train-the-trainer program we did with Ty & Susan was a great success! With 11 organizations, we were able to begin the culture shift to one of Team-care based on monthly, science-based Nonprofit Wellness presentation and discussion. We found that these organizations have created time, space and a budget for team wellness activities. It has become part of their regular routine." Amy Elliott, former head of Nonprofits LEAD at Marietta College, OH
Nonprofit Wellness sessions have been chosen in the NTC community screening annually since the pandemic began. We love using the chatbox to model high engagement in a virtual structure.
In March 2022, Susan Comfort & Tiffany Galvan presented at NTC: Boosting Wellness & Brainpower on your Fundraising Team
Here is 2021's NTC session recording on YouTube
"We’ve been talking about how our work relationships feel more transactional these days. Everyone is so worn out! Today’s blind contour drawing workshop was a real breath of fresh air! We’ve been talking about wanting to create spaces where we can be together, have fun, and see each other as humans to reconnect. I’m so glad did this! As an employee responsible for our “Get Healthy Y’all” wellness initiative, it was easy to select this session from a menu of options and get to actually participate myself. -- Megan, Mountain Association, Kentucky
We ran a 6-month study where 60 people in 12 organizations reported on the efficacy of a variety of individual and group opportunities. We learned that team-care is more important than self-care for these busy, world-changing staff.
You can get the report (5 findings, 5 recs) here.
The first MomBoss Summit was held online in April, 2021 to support all moms.
It featured a "Breathe, Mom!" session led by Nonprofit Wellness (we've been training the ALSAC fundraising and marketing teams for two years.)
Check out the MomBoss recording.
--I just wanted to share that everytime I join a meeting and hear your voice I'm in a happy place. You've got such a supportive, caring touch to who you are. Thank you for all that you've shared with me and my coworkers at AXXXX. We could all grow in our abilities to rest, relax, and grow emotionally. Thank you!
-- This was amazing and think it should be mandatory for all employees to take this course. You can only build a culture of well-being if everyone knows about it and is working towards a common goal. This is the new way of work since the pandemic, and we need to encourage working more this way if we want to keep value within our employees and keep XXX as a great place to work.
-- Loved it! Love the interaction!
-- I really like the science piece that reveals how the brain and body work. The tie in to the stress management makes a lot more sense.
-- I got a little emotional when I saw how few of us had laughed out loud before the 3pm session. My reaction made me realize how much pent up stress I must have and I am grateful to have learned some coping mechanisms today.
-- Loved it! Didn't expect to like it so much but I did. I would personally love to drill down in a session devoted to breathing exercises as I do believe in their efficacy. Also, more about nootropics-type supplements (e.g. fungi suggestions you passed around, but more). Thank You - this was great!
-- I would generally not take the time to participate. I am glad I did today. It was very helpful!
-- I liked these sessions, but I think wellness sessions in any format would be welcomed. I was excited about the sessions, but it was a big effort to make sure that I could attend all of them due to their frequency and work obligations. If XXX continues to do wellness sessions, I think one session a month throughout the year would be great.
-- Very helpful with excellent facilitators.
-- Really liked the Prescription form, which hits home the need to do these activities for our health rather than view them as optional luxuries.
-- Susan and Ty do a good job of connecting the stress we feel to specific strategies to address that stress and build resilience. I can imagine it is incredibly difficult to communicate, especially energetically, through Zoom vs. being in person for these trainings. I thought they did a good job with that.
-- I’ve really enjoyed the wellness workshops. In particular, the workshop that discussed ACEs was very helpful during a conversation with a close friend shortly afterwards. While my personal ACE score is relatively low, hers is very high. But just having the knowledge of what ACEs are and how it’s scored/type of questions that are asked was helpful in navigating that conversation with her. Overall, I was able to be a better friend and listener to support someone dealing with mental health issues. The timing was uncanny -- I am very thankful for the time spent discussing the subject and the availability of the online resources.
-- Wellness is so important and it is a topic that I don't see discussed or promoted within the workspace. I am thankful for the awareness and information shared to us through this workshop. I thank XXX for allowing the opportunity, it has been a wonderful experience.
-- I loved this session, but was a bit surprised that it did not place a greater emphasis on stress in the workplace.
-- Instead of, or in addition to, teaching us how to be more like trees to weather the hurricane, I wonder if there are steps we can take to make XXX less like a hurricane. Some ideas include more deliberate staffing, consideration of how XXX program will be staffed before taking it on, and planning ahead to replace staff when we know they are taking leave
-- This session was refreshing. For me it gave me hope that it's not to late to recharge as a teacher!
-- That was an awesome wellness session! I enjoyed the poll shares and chat shares and it was nice to do one on one groups-- that was way less awkward than a big breakout group.
-- I think that this is a good session, but I would like to see these themes implemented more by XXX, because I feel as though burn out is a very real problem, and it is something that is not being talked about enough.
-- This was my favorite of the wellness sessions we've had because it was so specific and helpful in giving concrete strategies. I appreciated the background information on what burnout looks and feels like and the opportunity to assess where we were at.