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Ever have days when you have to remind yourself to BREATHE? Are you facing burn-out? What are symptoms, remedies, and prevention strategies?
I recently attended an excellent presentation given by Shellie Ruge, who is just a couple of months away from finishing her counseling internship. Shellie highly recommended the book, “Burnout” by Christina Maslach. Inside the book there is a burnout assessment so you can see where you are.
Here are a few online assessment tools that I found by quickly googling.…
What are some of the words you think about when you hear the word burnout? Some for me are: Exhausted, my brain is fried/hurts, frustrated, anxious, stressed, etc. In our field, a people/service-oriented field, it is very easy to get burned out. We want the best for our students. We want them to learn and grow. We teach them for years, which often results in not only getting to know the student well, but often the whole family.
Think about your studio for a minute. Are you always giving? Are you always trying to please the student that consistently doesn’t show up for lessons but wants a make up or maybe the family that doesn’t pay on time, but you are afraid to ask for the payment? These kinds of things are taking out of our emotional bank accounts. And when they are constantly being taken out and no deposits are being made, boundaries are being crossed and burnout can be right around the corner. Burnout can lead to depression, anxiety, unethical behavior, poor health, and family problems.
Symptoms of Burnout include:
- Physically exhausted
- Mentally exhausted
- Contempt for self and client
Three dimensions of Burnout
- Emotional exhaustion -Feeling overextended and drained
- Depersonalization- I know how you feel but I don’t care
- Reduced personal accomplishment- a decline in one’s feelings of competence and successful achievement in one’s work with people.
Four Burnout Stages and ways to intervene…
1- Compulsion- over-enthusiasm to be the best; driven quality, subtle deprivations. Appropriate Intervention: - realism; set realistic expectations; focus on small success not failure, the process instead of the outcome.
*I personally struggle a bit in this area as I find myself having a hard time of letting piano “go” when I am on vacation or on a break. I have to force myself to leave piano at home both in mind and body.
2- Stagnation- no thrill, emphasis on personal needs. Appropriate Intervention – education, adjustments, hobbies, create stimulating environments
*This is a great reason to be part of an MTA organization but I also have to remind myself that I need to find things I enjoy outside piano.
3- Frustration- emotional, physical, behavioral issues, powerless feelings, question effectiveness. Appropriate Intervention- satisfaction; making adjustments, discontent motivates change if there is movement
*I think as teachers, we probably feel this most when a family challenges our studio policy and if we give in thinking the problem will go away, we find out that what actually happens instead is that it escalates into a bigger problem later.
4- Apathy- Doing the minimum as a defense against frustration. Appropriate Intervention- involvement; diversify, find meaning, use a strong network friends/colleagues
*I think this is when we just throw our hands up and thoughts of just quitting all together start to happen.
“Happiness is identifying and measuring what makes you happy. You only have control over you.” I liked this quote by Shellie. She reminds us that nobody can make you happy or unhappy. Often we’ll hear, “She MADE me mad”. Well, she can’t MAKE you mad, only you can do that. It’s up to you how you want to react. Next time you are having a problem and need to respond to someone follow this formula: Fact, Feeling and Formula. Give them the fact (ie: Suzy must attend lessons weekly), your feeling (ie: I worry that Suzy will fall behind), and need (I need you to respect my policy and bring Suzy each week).
Shellie suggested that we should be careful when venting. Venting is problem focused, but you want solution focused. I think this was interesting because for me venting helps me hear others points of thoughts and views and allows me to think things through a little bit before responding. It’s also nice to get it out and then release. But at the same time I can understand why venting would be considered problem focused. So I think to vent just to vent is unhealthy; but to have an open mind ready to hear other views, focusing on a solution instead is okay.
The 24 hour rule: write that letter, email etc. if needed but wait 24 hours before sending it. Often times when we wait we will be more solution focused rather than problem focused. Sometimes we may decide that sending that letter/email isn’t even worth it, but it felt good just writing it.
Self Care is very important. Help for Mind, Body, Spirit, Feelings, Inner Child:
- Mind- Reading, Crosswords, Writing,
- Body- Exercise, Stretching, Eating
- Spirit- Crying, Singing, Meditation,
- Feelings, Crying, Sharing, Journaling
- Kid- Painting, Games, Laugh
Discontent + Movement= Change Be aware of burnout symptoms and ways to get through or combat it. Remember self care and FUN.
…”How to beat burnout in one word: balance” Christina Maslach
Jennifer Foxx teaches in
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