Burnout & Self-Care: Self-Care & Burnout

And then there is burnout, and what to do about it. These experts tell it like it is:

No One Tells You Until You Experience It

Yoga Teacher Burnout. It’s the biggest topic that no one tells you until you experience it—then the stories come out. You finally realize that the teachers you adored as a student were really overwhelmed and running on fumes after teaching 6 days a week…Let’s get really honest about something. Just because you’re teaching 10 classes a week doesn’t mean that you’re only working 10-15 hours per week. It often takes HOURS to prep for your weekly classes, creating your lesson plans, putting together playlists, and finding inspirational passages to share. Not to mention the time it takes you to travel to your classes, set-up, and talk to students after class! We each get 168 hours per week – so how can you work smarter so you can earn more and work less? – Rachael Cook

Signs of Burnout

If you’re alert to the signs of burnout, you can stomp out the flames when they show up. Here are a few signs:

  1. You wait until the last possible minute to leave home to make it to class.
  2. You dread teaching the same sequence over and over again.
  3. You wish you could attend a teacher training to be infused with new wisdom but lack the funds to attend.
  4. You refrain from conversation with students.
  5. You haven’t had a day off teaching in months.

Burnout in teachers is particularly problematic because in order to do your job, you need to be seen; meaning, you can’t hide behind a desk or computer. You need to be open; meaning, you have to speak. You need to be aware and present; meaning, you can’t just pass the time daydreaming, wishing for your day to end. – Karen Fabian

Top Priority: Personal Practice & Study

Whatever you do, do not forsake your own practice… Revisit the yoga texts and scriptures you’ve previously studied. You are no longer the same person or yogi you once were. You have grown and developed a higher level of consciousness which will help you gain more insight from these teachings. What better way to reignite your passion for yoga than to continue to study it? – YogiApproved.com

See also: Personal Practice & Self-Study

Reset, Refresh and Renew

Burnout doesn’t typically occur overnight, it is a gradual process. If red flags and symptoms are dealt with as they arise, complete burnout or a major breakdown can be avoided…. If you have burnout, but you love teaching yoga and simply want to reset, refresh and renew, I have a few of my favorite things to help you do just that. – Michelle Thielen

The author goes on to give 11 ways to “renew and re-energize your teaching” including taking a teaching break, journaling, withdrawing followed by engaging, seeking new experiences, focusing on service, and re-evaluating your inner circle. See link above to read full article.

Confusing Self-Care with Vices or “Being Selfish”

We live in a society where social service providers, organizers and those working in the non-profit sector are not valued. Where the norm is to be in survival mode, to be overworked and underpaid. And after we have worked a 12-hour day, put out 3 fires, submitted 4 grant proposals, cooked dinner and put the kids to bed, THEN we are allowed and expected to practice “self-care”. We are set up to fail. And so we turn to indulgences or vices as coping mechanisms—as our modalities of self-care. We binge eat at 10 PM because we haven’t had time to eat all day. We have 4 drinks at happy hour because we have to decompress from the work grind. We have a bottle of wine at home, alone, to feel some semblance of tranquility. And this, we justify, is what they were talking about when they said to practice self-care. But that is not self-care. That is applying tiger balm and a bandaid on a broken leg. It may feel good but it does not address the root of the issue. – Bruce Thao

It is Because of the Forgetting

Remember… every step that takes us away from our light will eventually remind us that the light exists. It is because of the forgetting that we are allowed to rest in the sweet delight of remembering. When we rest in that sweet place, we are radiant. We are full of a better knowing of ourselves that might have been hidden, had we not ventured into the darkness. – yoganonymous

Making Teaching Schedule More Efficient

Inefficient teaching schedules are one of the biggest sources of burnout in our livelihood… [One] effective strategy is to start teaching a series or two per quarter—or occasional workshops—in order to earn enough that you can let go of a class or two in your schedule that is stretching you too thin. – Jason Crandell