I don’t know about anyone else, but this is my most stressful time of year. It’s also the time of year that I tend to burn out and when I notice my students burning out.
This is the time for re-registration, summer camp registrations, summer scheduling, following up with the waiting list, figuring out who I can add to the schedule, planning the spring recital, getting students ready for spring recital, prep the summer camps, not to mention my other creative and educational projects. Oh, the list can go on and on… I know you can relate how crazy it is.
Burnout can be caused by many things. For me, stress and overwhelm plays a big role. It’s good to take a look at what your burnout trigger is especially if you realize it is a consistent pattern.
So before I go on, let me ask you… What is burnout? What does it look like in your world? How do you know you are there? What do you do about it?
- The desire to no longer do something you usually enjoy.
- A State of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion (or a combination of)
- Can correlate with depression and anxiety.
- A state of chronic stress.
- ___ in the blank. What is it like for you?
In my world, I get more emotional and frustrated when I’m burned out. I lose my “mojo”. I want to surf Facebook or watch TV when I normally don’t, instead of doing something productive. But at the same time, feel guilty that I’m not doing anything productive. I want to eat more. (Ugh) And if I’m not careful and recognize that something has got to give, I can have a major emotional breakdown. It is not pretty.
How do I know it’s there? When I’m feeling overstressed and unproductive. When I don’t want to do the things I normally love to do. When I’m just feeling completely exhausted. For me, this can be both a combo of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.
So what do I do about it?
TAKE A BREAK
One of the big things I do, that I am SO thankful for is taking plenty of breaks throughout the year. If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I like to hold camps twice a year. A summer camp allows me to have a nice, much needed, summer break and a Christmas camp allows me to have a good Christmas break. Then I have a fall break, Thanksgiving, and spring break. Many of the breaks that I have on my calendar now were my form of a tuition “raise” in a past year. (Highly recommend)
It’s important to note that these breaks are not just good for me, but good for students as well. I know… I’m hearing some of you say, but don’t students lose what they have learned over the breaks? My answer is, nope. You will want to read: Motivating practice over the summer
Another thing that I have learned over the years is that seasons change (well, not so much where I live in AZ) and so do I. There are some years that I can go all out with my students and other years not so much. (ie: I never got my students Musicathlon flags up on the studio lab wall like I was going to.) And that is okay. Don’t beat yourself up because this particular season in your life is a little harder and you have to do less. (Flags will be used to decorate at the spring recital instead)
You may find that your particular season may require you to take a much longer break than what I described above. That’s okay. Remember, you can go back to teaching at any time.
I will admit, I want to do it all. (Can you say Type A?) I want to say yes to more than I can handle and I hate to disappoint. Here’s the thing, nobody can do it all. It’s GOOD to say NO. And while sometimes saying no, may disappoint, life goes on. Saying no, when I need to make myself or my family a priority, is one of the best lessons I learned.
It’s always good to get an annual (or more) checkup. If you find that you just can’t get over your “funk”, it could be something more… So take the time to get checked out.
WORRY ABOUT YOU
When my son was younger, we would say this a lot, “Don’t worry about what they are doing, worry about you.” He was always so focused on what everyone else was doing and this would cause him to get upset quite a bit. Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other teachers? Spending too much time on Pinterest or Instagram? Telling yourself, if only… or I wish… Well, stop it. Comparison is the thief of joy. You ARE the most important person. Don’t worry about what others are doing or not doing, worry about you.
WEED YOUR GARDEN
Charlene, a friend of mine says she always “weeds her garden” each year in her studio. Do you have any students that you just dread teaching for whatever reason? Do you have problem parents that question or push you at every turn? It’s time to weed your garden and let some fresh “flowers” come join you.
EXERCISE and EAT BETTER
Sometimes exercise is the last thing we want to do when we are feeling burned out. But it’s actually one of the most important things to do. Go for a walk, dance around the house, do something physical that will get you moving. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the treadmill. Just get up and move.
I also notice when I’m feeling this way, I tend to eat more junk. It’s easy, it gives me instant gratification. But in the end, it just doesn’t make me feel good. So grab that apple instead of the chips, or grab some almonds instead of the candy bar. In time, your body will thank you for it.
Recognize the need to take care of yourself. Remember, most of us go through burnout at one time or another. Some more often than others. Do what you can and need to do, to get back to your normal and feeling good again!