Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Burn-out is a big problem in every one of the helping professions. For many of us, it's because we love what we do, so we don't know when or how to draw a boundary when our work becomes overwhelming. Our jobs are physically exhausting, yes, because most helping professions involve being on our feet. Being a healer is physically demanding.
Psychic and mental burn-out are also inevitable when we overwork. Mental burn-out is simply annoying; the symptoms are clear. We just can't focus on the task at hand whether it's a session of massage or making a cup of coffee. Being a healer requires intense focus while we're working. Too much work, too much intense concentration, fries the synapses (not literally). Mental burn-out turns us into zombies. It does.
Psychic burn-out manifests either as a kind of spiritual denseness in which we discover an inability to feel compassion for client/patients, even when we really TRY, or emotional numbness in which we find we really don't care about our clients/patients - or anyone else for that matter!
Why am I writing about this today? Probably because there's a lot going on all around me with clients, friends and neighbors. I want to be there for everyone, even though of course that is not possible. Because I don't want to get sucked into the black hole of helping profession burn-out, I pledge I will carefully monitor my mind, heart and body. I will not take on more than I can handle in a healthy way. When I'm exhausted on one level or another, I will draw a line, rest, recover. Walk my talk, in other words. Yes? I say yes. Shalom.
I find this nervewracking. Do you? Also funny to realize this was acceptable TV entertainment in 1969!