Restoring Balance

Tools and practices to avoid burnout in humanitarian and social issues

In this workshop, we learn tools and practices to identify burnout, connect with suffering, restore inner balance and integrate these practices into our daily life and work.


Personal experience

My first real contact with collective human suffering was in 2008 when I worked as a dentist in Northeast Brazil, in one of the poorest and most unequal regions in the country. Years later, I embarked on my first assignment with refugee communities in South Africa. These experiences left me burnout, unbalanced, frustrated and disappointed with humanitarian systems and responses in general. I then learned that many volunteers and humanitarian workers share similar experiences and feelings. From cynicism to emotional numbness and perpetual stress, we unconsciously seek protective mechanisms to avoid contacting the human cost of wars, generalised violence and forced displacement.

After witnessing so much suffering in the world and in myself, structural violence and social injustices, my worldview and personal pursues were challenged and a longing to serve those in need emerged. Yet, without preparation and learning how to develop inner tools for understanding myself and the soul of humanity, I would only feed the field of despair, disconnection and frustration, instead of contributing meaningfully to the healing of collective wounds. This realisation was eye-opener and brought to attention the need of aligning heart, mind and hands.


About the workshop

Although working on the field of humanitarian and social issues is demanding and draining, both physically and energetically, we can learn tools and practices for navigating the thickness of humanitarian crisis. In this workshop, participants will learn through storytelling, activities and exercises how to:

  • Create space for inner awareness and observation;

  • Vocalise individual motivations and initial intentions;

  • Identify the signs of burnout, numbness and imbalance;

  • Connect with the suffering present in ourselves and others;

  • Develop inner tools and practices to restore balance;

  • Integrate these practices into our daily life and work.