When I was in graduate school, I had the privilege of working under two excellent SLPs.  One specialized in assistive technology and worked with children with severe impairments. The other was an SLP at a well known rehabilitation facility.  Both of those SLPs ended up leaving their jobs to take a break.  At the time, I could not understand how gifted and talented people who are needed by the community of people with disabilities could walk away.  Now I completely understand the gift they gave me in my judgmental early adulthood experience.

There are many articles that give ways to avoid Burn Out.  I will not tell you how to avoid it, I will suggest that you may experience it in your personal or professional life.  Here are some lessons I learned during my Burn Out Experience.

1. Don’t Fight It.  Sometimes we feel the need to get stronger and plow through.  Burn out is a call that something needs to stop, rest, and be still. Body, Mind, and Spirit.

2. There Is Always Someone Else.  God is so big and his gifts so wide that relying on YOU to make it all happen in treating the children is in opposition to who he is.

3. Practice Filling Your Cup First.  Drink from it. Fill it some more…then give.  Selfish?  No. Self preservation…YES.

4. Ask The Big Question: “Am I still supposed to be doing something different?”

5. Don’t Make Any Major Decisions…especially hiring decisions.  Decisions made during burn out rest-recovery periods can look like the worst horror movie Part I, II, and III with epilogue.

6. Get a Therapist.

7. Reassess Your Relationships.  Collegial and Friendship.  Keep the True Blue and keep the rest at arms length…and prepare to remove them to your outer circle.

In a helping profession, we often take our clients home with us.  Dream about them. Stay late completing paperwork.  Then we serve our families and friends. I initially never used burnout to describe my pause in treating and administration.  But a few weeks ago, it came to me that I was burned out and need not be ashamed of this.  For me, it was a deeper call to ask the Big Question, Pour myself a perfect cup of tea, Stop making major decisions, Talk to my therapist, Reassess my relationships, Let someone else do it, Stop Overcompensating, Take Inventory of my wonderful life, and Understand the expanded vision and mission.

During the initial stages of my quiet sabbatical, a friend unknowingly sent me a card. The inside of the card mentioned that her wish for me was to THRIVE and not just survive.

It was a God Wink for me.  THRIVE was a goal for myself.

And as I am learning to THRIVE (from a position of rest rather than plowing through), I will share.

Careers in Balance no more.  This is about Person Centered Thriving and everything-everyone in my arms (experience) reach shall do the same.

To Thriving!

~Landria Green, MA., CCC-SLP

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