i agree that self care has become a luxury for volunteers (no time, too many tasks to tackle , unprecedented situations) especially under circumstances such as the one Alex @Levene desribes in Calais, but let us not forget of the burnt out effect. And when we reach that stage we are of no help to anyone....
Self care should not be a luxury. As volunteers, we are human beings who need the basics to get by, we need water, food, shelter , sleep , safety and human contact but in order to carry on we also need to know where to draw our limits. We are not superhuman, we cannot do everything, we cannot do everything by ourselves.
In Lesvos and many other of the Greek islands flooding with refugees this past year, numerous young idealistic volunteers arrived from all over Europe wanting to make a difference in the lives of others. Some of these individuals under the circumstances, after a few weeks, not being able to bear the situation, which was physically but above all mentally exhausting ended up, being burnt out and rather than provide help required themselves psychological assistance. This was ultimately very distracting for the rescue teams and those providing PFA who needed to focus on the refugees instead. I guess what i am saying is selfcare in whatever form it takes, is a prerequisite in order to be able to carry on the difficult task of volunteering in such harsh conditions otherwise you may be burnt out .