Keela Mindfulness: At the Corner of Tech and Self-Care for Nonprofits
It was late Tuesday afternoon, I was wrapping up my day and getting ready to move to the couch – my new haven of peace since working from home. That’s when Keela’s CEO Nejeed, called me to talk about his latest brilliant idea. “I was thinking of ways we can support nonprofits in navigating through these challenging times. And I think we should leverage our software to do this”. He piqued my curiosity, adding “Would it be crazy if we brought mindfulness practice into Keela?”
Thus, on that unassuming Tuesday afternoon, Keela Mindfulness was born.
A few days later, Meico Marquette Whitlock, digital wellness expert and certified mindfulness teacher, agreed to embark on this journey. Our mission? Reconcile tech and nonprofit self-care.
This blog post explains what drove us to integrate a mindfulness video series into a CRM software and why we believe it can support nonprofit professionals in their day-to-day.
Behind the buzzword: What is self-care for nonprofits?
The importance of prioritizing self-care in the nonprofit sector is nothing new. It’s been long enough since fundraisers and nonprofit professionals have flagged the risks of burning out. Nonprofits professionals have a direct impact on people’s lives and the wellbeing of our communities. And this devotion to doing more good in the world often results in overwork, stress, and ultimately exhaustion.
2020 has just increased the pressure on our already overburdened shoulders.
For most of us, the pandemic and the surge of remote work has blurred the boundaries between professional life and home life, making it harder to maintain a healthy balance between the two. What’s more, the constant stress of not knowing what the future holds has triggered all sorts of feelings such as confusion, distress, sadness, or even anger. It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has prompted an increased demand for mental health worldwide.
Consequently, consultants and experts have urged nonprofit professionals to practice self-care and asked team managers to implement solutions to promote self-care in the workplace. But what’s behind the buzzword?
More than just taking time for yourself, Dr Killian defines the practice of self-care as an invitation to tuning in to yourself and enhancing your emotional self-awareness. It’s a proactive, ongoing process of listening to your needs and considering them when you make decisions.
When working for a nonprofit, it’s easy to forget about your own needs for the sake of the cause you’re fighting for. Over time this can be counterproductive; simply because you need to take care of yourself to be able to help others. That’s why practicing self-care is crucial for the sector.
Now, everyone has different needs. Taking a daily morning walk might help your coworker find calm, but it does not mean this method is bound to work for you.
Mindfulness is just one tool in your toolbox. It promotes a diverse approach to practicing self-care, and everyone can find something useful in it. But, ultimately, what matters is finding what works best for you.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness
According to Meico, Keela Mindfulness teacher, mindfulness is a mental state of non-judgmental awareness. He adds, “that simply means the ability to be aware of what we’re thinking, what emotions we’re holding, and what bodily sensations we’re experiencing without judging ourselves.”
In other words, mindfulness is learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment without distraction or judgment. You can think of it as an invitation to let go of the problems of the past and the stressors of the future.
Thousands of medical studies have shown that mindfulness has many benefits. Beyond reducing stress, researchers have found that practicing mediation can sharpen our attention and improve our ability to solve problems.
Other studies suggest that mindfulness encourages compassion by increasing our willingness to take action to alleviate others’ pain.
If you want to learn more about what mindfulness is and its benefits, I suggest you watch this presentation by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Bridging mindfulness and technology
At first glance, the relationship between tech and mindfulness might seem puzzling or even contradictory. When assisting video calls, reading emails, or sorting your donor database have become energy drainers, you might not look at software as a solution to solve tech exhaustion.
But think about it. Technology is already helping us connect with the present. Whether that’s a white noise background music or an app to track journaling, there are plenty of ways we can leverage technology to practice mindfulness.
By developing Keela Mindfulness, we intended to create a place where nonprofit professionals can come when they’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or simply need calm to focus on their day-to-day.
Keela Mindfulness: A video series built right into your CRM
When I asked Meico why he took part in the project, he told me he wanted to help changemakers create lasting balance in their lives and do great work better.
The result of our collaboration is a series of 10 videos integrated directly into Keela’s donor management software. The content is broken down into segments of different lengths, from one-minute short exercises to a 25-minute guided meditation.
Watching the series, you’ll learn that mindfulness is not just sitting in a silent room for an hour. It’s also an invitation to reflect on your professional purposes, practice yoga on your office chair, cultivate compassion, or take the time to breathe.
Check out this one-minute breathing exercise to get a sneak peek at the video series:
You can watch the videos at your own pace, whenever you feel the need to. In fact, we do not recommend a particular time to do it – it can be at the beginning of your workday, before a team meeting, or simply when you need to bring your focus back to the here and now.
Mindfulness is just one tool nonprofit professionals can use to find calm amid the chaos. Ultimately, we hope you will discover what best supports you in serving at the highest level.