In my session at MMEA tomorrow, I’ll be talking about burnout prevention for music teachers. It’s a very hands-on, active session because I want to provide actual stress reducing experiences so you feel great when you walk out of it. But that means I have less time to fill people’s heads with information. So here is some of the stuff I’m not going to say:
- If you feel like you’re already suffering, already on the edge of burnout, finding a psychotherapist you like can change everything.
- Emotions are not just “love, hate, happiness, sadness,” etc. There are three kinds of emotion: I, II, and III, and there’s some further explanation of that. Ross Buck’s book is the source for this and you’ll love reading it if you decide to dig deeper into this stuff. Anyway, of the three types of emotion, only Emotion III is related to your conscious perception. Emotion III is “affect,” or the experience of feeling. I and II are handled by the deeper parts of your brain, which are the ones that, if you don’t keep an eye on them and find some renewal, can allow you to slip into burnout.
- Dream analysis can help you examine the deeper emotions and sources of stress (nope: it’s not just the administration!) by connecting to your own subconscious. There are books on dream analysis that can help you, or you can work with your therapist. The important thing to know that, generally speaking, you are everyone and everything in your dream. A helpful insight for me was that, in my recurring dream of drowning in a tsunami, I’m the victim and the wave. Go fig.
- Yes, good nutrition and regular physical activity are important. But don’t start there: “I have to lose weight and get healthy or I’ll keep hating going to work every day.” No. Start with choosing mindfulness in what you already do. Don’t change your life tomorrow. Change how you think about one thing, a little bit at a time, so that the changes you make are realistic, do-able, and lead gradually to healing, renewal, balance, health, nirvana… it will not happen tomorrow no matter how inspired you feel at any given moment. As you start feeling better, you might decide to add more vegetables to your dinner plate; to talk the dog an extra block. Great! But let that happen when you’re ready.
- If I don’t have time to go through the resource list in detail, I’ll do it here tomorrow night.