Mentally Prepare - Recognize and acknowledge before you go that what you will encounter along the way will challenge your mental and emotional strength. There will likely be many times throughout your volunteer period when you will feel upset, angry, confused, sad, and hurt. After all, you are human and surely a compassionate one at that, if you’re about to embark on this journey to aid refugees. It is okay to feel these emotions.

Focus on what you are able to provide and move forward knowing that you are in fact making a difference, even if it is to one life versus many lives. Believe you are doing the best you can. Seek social support from other fellow volunteers if feeling overwhelmed by the situations at hand. They are likely also going through the same process as you, and often can provide support through their understanding. Consider joining a support group, if need be. Many have been set up either in-person in a number of the refugee camps, with personnel offering guidance both to refugees and volunteers. If there isn’t a physical space or person on-site for this, join one of the many online groups, such as this one on Facebook:

By preparing with some self-care tactics to cope with the emotional stress, you can continue to dedicate your time there in the most effective and efficient manner to the benefit of the refugees. Remember, by taking care of yourself, you will be better able to care for the refugees you have dedicated your efforts to assist.