July 28, 2017

Preventing Burn-out

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I've written an entry. Where has the time gone? This moment last summer, my husband and I packed up all of our belongings and a room full of therapy materials to move to a smaller town. From the very first day, we fell for the rural life. We gladly traded in traffic jams for 5-10 minutes trips and metropolitan building for scenic views. Being closer to a support system has been especially beneficial to us in ways that I can't express in words.

Although all of this is true,  it's also been an exhausting year. We've had to fight numerous battles and adjust to a higher caseload. Finding the time or energy to cook dinner was challenging... let alone write.

Summer returned right when we needed the refresh. We've still been keeping ourselves busy with a recent local move and some work (there's no rest for us nomads), but the late nights, long conversations, rolling thunder, sun-kissed skin, and ice-cream have re-awakened our souls. It's reminded us to slow down, given us a chance to take care of ourselves, and provided us with the opportunity to be more mindful. We all need this, but I think teachers and school-based SLPs need it a little bit more.

To be completely honest, some of us are probably cringing as we grip the sides of our couch at the thought of the school year starting back up again -- and rightfully so. It's a tough job. We're trying to teach multiple students individualized skills at the same time, stay on-top of 90+ IEPs and meetings, plan/create tomorrow's therapy lesson, find time to consult/collaborate with teachers, and pencil in testing and report development. I'm not even getting into those punches (yes, literal punches from students) we dodged last year.

Besides the workload, most therapists always have their clients on their minds. We're researching and brainstorming ways to get them to their next milestone as fast as possible. We're shopping for therapy materials after hours, and we're spending our own money to make sure our students' get what they need. We're also always on the look-out for helpful (and affordable!) continuing education courses.

Summer is often the only chance we get to exhale. That's why I think it's so important to take the time in the beginning of the school year to set our intentions. We need to make sure we continue to fit in a few moments of zen throughout our work weeks -- whether that's a work-out, movie night, spa visit, or read. If you're like me, you probably also need an outlet and time to nourish your soul. Write your heart out and download that podcast girl! Burn-out is real. We cannot save the world, if we're hanging by a thread.

Your fellow therapist,

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