top of page
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, New Orleans logo

Self-Care While Serving the Community

For the first time, the SVdP Archdiocesan council of New Orleans provided a space for

volunteers and leaders to discuss the personal effects of serving the community, during the

current challenges of inflation, post-pandemic life, and how we, as servant leaders can

incorporate self-care, while caring for those in need.

Self-Care While Serving the Community

Dr. Elmore Rigamer

With over 50 years’ experience in the field of psychiatry, Dr. Rigamer has served as medical

director for Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New Orleans, where he directed several disaster relief programs for hurricane Katrina victims. Prior to his work with CCANO, he served the state department, advising the Secretary of state on international health issues while overseeing health care of foreign service diplomats and their families. 

When dealing with the challenges of stress and anxiety during the most complicated situations, the first step is a simple one. Breathing; better yet, breathing correctly.

We breathe in and out roughly 25,000 times a day. But according to experts, (pulmonologists and psychiatrists), most of us are doing it wrong. Dr. Rigamer walked Vincentians through a few of the basic breathing techniques, based on this NY Times article:

"After discussing what caused us stress in our work as Vincentians, Dr. Rigamer took the

complex subject of stress and broke it down in physiological terms helping understand how

stress effects our bodies in a real way and then taught us some very simple and easy ways to deal with it primarily through breathing. It was very informative and quite helpful" Said St. Peter conference member Jeff Guillory.

Volunteering in the non-profit sector can be rewarding and fulfilling, but also challenging and stressful; especially during the difficult times faced over the past 3 years. As a Vincentian, it’s safe to say that you often face high demands, low resources, emotional distress, and other dilemmas. These are factors that can naturally lead to stress and burnout, which can affect your well-being, motivation, and performance.

Here are some tips to help:


bottom of page