How do you sustain yourself while helping others?
Held at Mala Yoga, in Brooklyn Heights, the three-hour workshop combined yoga postures, including relaxation poses, with discussion about burnout and ways to apply yogic principles for burnout management, which ideally is burnout prevention.The culminating non-yoga activity was to create a Burnout Plan for work and for after work – when you have walked out the door for the day.
As with almost any issue, acknowledging that it exists is the first step to dealing with the issue. Writing down a Burnout Plan is akin to writing a list of goals. Placing that Plan some place visibile serves as a reminder of your self-committment, and increases the likelihood of taking action on the Plan.
Do you currently teeter close to burnout? Have you ever tottered at burnout’s edge? If so, then you may know what causes you to reach that point. At the end of this post is the list of the results of their burnout, as generated by the participants in this workshop. Interestingly, many of these “results” then become “causes” as they foster additional burnout or, at the least, make it difficult to clearly see through the muck and manage the issues of burnout.
My assistance consisted of three parts: disseminating and collecting props, being the note taker on the large wall paper, and (my favorite!) being the model as we did one of the yoga flows. This freed Julia up to walk around and provide assists, and Susanna to be able to observe as she led the class. As my husband said, this was my professional development – being able to stradle my feet, with one as a student and the other as an assistant, letting me observe the process from two perspectives.
Some of the techniques we practiced included doing a body scan, meditating, relaxation stretches and postures, summoning the relaxation response, doing restorative yoga poses, focusing on our breathing, and doing mudras (think: yoga with the hands). The majority of these techniques can be done while at work, which gives them extra umph because the issues around burnout can then be addressed at the point of contact (pun intended).
As with Julia’s previous Chair Yoga workshop, there was an informative handout provided along with a list of resources, some of which are shared below. Local library, here I come!
- How Can I Help? Stories and Reflections on Service by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman
- Mending the Body, Mending the Mind by Joan Borysenko (my first yoga teacher is a big fan of this author, and often will read a piece by her at the start or end of a class)
- Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson (this is the link for the web site which accompanies the book)
- The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson (this is the link for the web site about the book, including the Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response)
- Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat Zinn (the first customer reivew for this book, by A Customer, has me sold on checking out this book)