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Episode 6: Banning Burnout

Description: This is a really challenging time of the year for educators. We're here for you, we support you, and we encourage you to ban burnout in order to take care of yourself.


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Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode six of our third season of Self-Care for Educators. I'm your host, Tina Boogren, and I'm so glad you're here. This week's episode is about understanding burnout so that we can do something about it as we move the middle of October, November, December. This is typically the most challenging time of the school year. Ellen Moore would call this the disillusionment phase of the school year. It's where things are hard. Some of you might feel like you're still in survival mode. Some of you are already in disillusionment. Some of you are not there yet, which is fantastic no matter where you are. I just wanna explain ... I think burnout is a term that we throw around a lot, but maybe we don't fully understand that it's a real thing.


It's not just a made up term, it's not a buzzword. Like it's, it's an actual thing. It's recognized by the World Health Organization, and I feel like if we understand it, if we can get a hold of the characteristics that builds our awareness, and then we can do something about it. So, I'm gonna start us by reading to you the definition that the World Health Organization has come up with. So, it says, Burnout is a syndrome conceptualize as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. I'm gonna read that again, because if you're like me, I'm not a great oral processor, so sometimes I need to hear things more than once. So, let me read it again. Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.


What I think is really interesting is the World Health Organization specifically talks about work, so they say burnout refers specifically to phenomenon or phenomena in the occupational. And, should not be applied to describe other areas or other experiences in other areas of life. I'm gonna read that again, because I jumbled it. Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life. Huh? I feel like I wanna challenge that a little bit, but okay. We're gonna take that definition, and we're gonna think about work. So, chronic workplace stress that's not been successfully managed. What I think is really helpful is the World Health Organization has identified these three kind of dimensions, what I would call these three red flags. So, these would ... This is like, if you wanna know if you're burned out, here we go. In fact, you can take like an actual quiz like test on this to see. But, I think me just explaining it, you will recognize if you are here or not. And if you're here, you guys, you're ... So, let's just talk about it.


Okay. Number one, feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion. Number two, increased mental distance from one's job. So, in other words, this is that cynicism. Right? That negativity, that I hate everything. I hate everyone. I hate what we're doing. I hate my job. I hate all the things. That's number two. And, number three, reduced professional efficacy. In other words, a reduced sense of accomplishment and that efficacy piece, right? That's that piece of like, I can do this. That competence and recognition that what I'm doing matters, and I can see the results of what I'm doing. And so, when we lose that, that's a sign of burnout. So, those three characteristics, if you're feeling, if you're listening to this and you're like, Oh boy, I'm there. That's okay. You're not alone. We're gonna talk about this. Recognize that there's varying levels of burnout, so maybe just one of those or two of those hit home for you.


What I think is fascinating is that this is a generalization, but I've been reading that typically men show their, their most telling sign of burnout is that cynicism, and for women, it's that emotional exhaustion, and that may or may not ring true for you. Take that with a grain of salt, but it's interesting. Okay, so we know what it's a real thing. I oftentimes equate burnout with that disillusionment. Right? Could they go hand in hand? And, we know so many of us are burned out. In June of this year, there was a study published that said, K12 workers have the highest, highest rate of burnout. 44% of K12 workers always or very often feel burned out. To put that in perspective, healthcare workers, which I say oftentimes we're in the same group, are at 31%, which is not good, but we're even higher than that. So, I want us to talk about it. Build awareness around it, Recognize it. Because, to me, when we find ourselves in this place of like, Oh gosh, yes, that's me. You guys, that's our canary in the coal mine. We gotta do something. Burnout doesn't just magically go away. We don't just wake up typically and say, Oh, it's gone. I had it, and it's gone. We have to work hard to move ourselves out of this place.


And, for me you know what I'm gonna say? I'm gonna say go back to the basics. Remember, we gotta treat ourselves like puppies. What do puppies need? Puppies need sleep and food and water and walks, and a whole lot of love. So, I want you to go back to basics, to do a little self audit and decide where have things maybe kind of gotten outta control? Where have you let some boundaries slip? What do you need to pull back? How can you truly commit? To moving yourself out of burnout. And, that's a hard ask. I know, but I truly believe, like if we, if we have that sign of like, Oh no, this is where I am, then take that as your impetus to change. Right? To do something ... Now that's so hard, because when we're in burnout, we don't want to, We're stuck in that place.


But, think about those teeny, tiny, little baby steps. How can you purposely work to claw your way out of this? Is it recommitting to a gratitude practice? Is it waking up five minutes earlier so that you can sit in silence and get ready for the day? Is it finding that playlist, adding a few new songs to it and pumping yourself up on the way to work? Is it grabbing a colleague and committing to going for a walk every day at a certain time inside the building? Outside the building something? Is it removing yourself? From negative conversations of recognizing, Oh my gosh, the people that I eat lunch with, this is just not good for me, and just removing yourself. You gotta take care of your own self first. Secure your own oxygen mask before you assist others. Whew. It's a lot to think about, and it's a hard thing to think about, but we've gotta think about it.


And, as always, I just love for you to jump over to that Facebook group and share. I know many of you listen to these podcasts, and you share with each other, so I'd nudge you to have a conversation of being honest and open of saying like, Do you feel like you are in burnout? And, brainstorming, What can you do? Tiny, tiny, little one person percent better baby step things that you can do to start to claw your way out of it. Because again, if we recognize we're in burnout now, it's unfortunately it's not just magically going to get better. We can get stuck here and think about last week's episode. We don't wanna spend the last 90 days of 2022 in burnout, because think about how we will feel on January 1st, 2023 as a result. We've got this. We can do this. Just because we're in a hard place now doesn't mean it's always gonna be this way. We're gonna get ourselves out of this, and we can do this together. I'm cheering so hard for you, for me, for all of us. We can do this.


As always, a huge thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Thank you to Solution Tree and Marzano Resources for this incredible job I get to do. It's such an honor. And to you, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. I do all of this for you. I just, I picture you as I record these, and I do this work, and I just ... And, I'm just hugging all of you. I just am so grateful for all of you. I'm so proud of all of you, and I just, I don't want us to feel burned out. That's not, ugh. it's just, it's not good. So, let's work really hard together to commit to getting ourselves out of this scary place. We can do this. As Glennon reminds us, we can do hard things.

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