Avoiding Burnout Taking Care of Yourself
MELISSA ALLEN HEATH and BART LYMAN
A school psychologist who served on a district crisis team for 8 years shares this story:
“I thought back over my past month of experiences. As part of my job, I was on the school district crisis team. It had been a particularly difficult month: two suicides and a drive-by shooting. As a school psychologist, in addition to my regular responsibilities, I also had a particularly challenging load of counseling cases.
“I was tired. It had been weeks since I had felt rested. My dreams were filled with frustrating situations. I dreamed of driving and never getting to my destination, hunting for an important paper and never finding it, and entering a store shopping for bread, then forgetting what I needed to purchase. I was surprised that lately I woke up dreading the thought of going to work. I used to jump out of bed each day, excited to face new challenges.
“I remember driving down the road after getting ready for work one morning, thinking of my 'to do' list for the day. I knew I would never be able to get through the list. My stomach was aching. I reached for my antacid tablets. I never had time for breakfast anymore.
“I looked at my watch. My muscles tensed. I had to be to work in 15 minutes. I heaved a sigh. The car in front of me was going too slowly. I felt impatient.