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Presented by: Jen Johnson, PhD

Getting Ahead of Next Year's Burnout

Summer break is here, friends…and if it’s not here yet for you, HOLD ON because it’s coming! I feel like it’s been a whirlwind already and it’s only just begun. 


And ALL I can think is:

WHO APPROVED THIS? *laughs weakly*

Of course, I kid. ALL of these things are amazing, but it’s just been a bit much with them happening all at once. It’s left me feeling a bit drained.

But then I start thinking of all you amazing teachers who are feeling the same thing. Not because you’re doing all of those same things, but because you have been doing ALL THE THINGS. 

Let’s be real, here…you’ve been doing them since the beginning of the school year!...

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What a Home Repair Taught Me About Myself (and Burnout)

I had a realization last week. I was actually excited about doing a home repair with my dad. 

I love spending time with him, but working with wood has never been my thing, so it seemed really odd for me to be this excited about it!

What’s even more strange is that it’s not even something I want to do. 

The repair is something requested by the people who are planning to buy our house. There are two small wooden pieces that are damaged on the gable. It’s never been something that bothered me, but they want it repaired. Fair enough!

So we reached out to a contractor to get a quote for the repair. It came back at $400! For two 9-inch pieces of wood? I think not! Luckily, my dad came to the rescue.

Dad felt he could accomplish it for much less and he has 50 years experience in doing repairs on his property, so we decided to go that route. 

But then he suggested I work on it with him. I mean, it’s never a bad idea to learn how to do these sorts of...

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What is a Burnout Management Plan?

Wondering what one of the most common questions I get on social media and in Q&A sessions is?

What is this burnout management plan you speak of? And while we’re at it, how do I create one?” *insert curious eyebrow raise* 

If you want a short and easy answer, it’s, “Read my book.” *Wink* 

That’s because in my book, THRIVing After Burnout, I spend the first 22 (short!) chapters explaining the five pillars of burnout recovery, including evidence-based strategies to address each pillar. Chapter 23 is where I lay out the framework for establishing a long-term Care Plan.

But since I don’t believe in gatekeeping information, let’s talk about why you need a Care Plan and what it includes.

Why a Care Plan?

Like any transformation we want to experience in life, we’ve got to have a little bit of knowledge and a plan to implement it. 

And since our brains love patterns, and we’ve spent most of our lives...

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Changing My Hair Changed My Life!

Have you ever realized something you’ve been doing for a while no longer serves you?

I have, and it happened again recently. Some might call what I did drastic, and truth be told, it was. But it was also necessary.

The reality is, I’d been struggling with my hair for a long time. It was long and beautiful, but it was also time-consuming and stressful. Washing, drying, and styling it took so much time (and energy) that I found myself avoiding it.

Most days, I’d wash it, then throw it in a wet ponytail. Either that or I’d wear a hat so I didn’t have to do anything with it. That’s how I was living my life the majority of the time. If I had a speaking engagement, I would invest the time to do it all start to finish, but otherwise it was ponytail living.

And don’t get me wrong: there’s not a thing wrong with ponytails — they are amoral, really. No moral value either way, good or bad.

But the ponytails or hats weren't the problem....

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What My 3 1/2 Year Old (and a Candy Cane) Taught Me

Have you ever heard the phrase “Put out into the world what you want to get back”?

Some people call it Karma. Some call it the Law of Attraction. But it really comes back to this idea that if you show up in the world in a certain way, it seems to come back around to you. 

I’ve never really thought about this in terms of a burnout mitigation strategy until recently — and I learned it from my 3 ½ year old. 

While we were putting away our holiday decor this year, my son found a candy cane, and he really wanted to eat it. He asked me to help him open it, and I said what I usually do to positively promote independence and growth: “You try first. You can do hard things.

He sat down and tried and tried. Finally, he lamented, “Mommy, I tried really hard, but I can’t get it open!” 

I told him I would help him and started trying to unwrap it.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve unwrapped a candy cane as of late,...

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Getting to the Bottom of Burnout

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed something: I haven’t written a new blog since the beginning of November.

Here’s what you may not know: even back then, I was struggling. 

In fact, my second-to-last blog was actually about how I was struggling to write the blog. 

It was about that time that I met with my social media manager and mentioned I felt “burned out” in terms of writing the blog. She suggested I take some time off through the end of the year. 

That sounded wonderful, so that’s what I did. 

January came around and I still thought to myself, “I don’t want to blog. I’m burned out.” I had to roll my eyes because I hadn’t written one in months! 

As I sat and reflected, I remembered the part in my book where I talk about how breaks or vacations don’t cure burnout. (Guess that applies to taking breaks from writing blogs, too.) 

I decided to pick up my book and read...

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Police, Toddlers, & Detachment From Work

This past week I was driving my three year old son to preschool. We're usually the family that gets there 5 minutes before class starts, and I've been working really hard on arriving earlier. So I was feeling really proud of myself. 

I was also thinking about an executive coaching session I had the day before with an administrator. The administrator has been dealing with some heavy situations, and I was thinking about strategies we could implement moving forward. As I was deep in thought while driving, I looked in my rearview mirror and realized a motorcycle cop had his lights on behind me. 

In confusion, I pulled over. "Maybe I was going 40 by accident," I thought. As we pulled over, my son inquired what was happening, and I told him the policeman needed to talk to mommy because I may have done something wrong. I turned my car off, rolled down the window, and waited. 

As the officer approached the car, my son yelled, "MOMMY MADE A RED CHOICE!

At school,...

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How the Halloween Baking Championship Reminded Me I'm Human

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that each of my blogs corresponds with a pillar of my burnout recovery model, THRIV. 

T - Tending to Yourself

H - Harness Social Support

R - Recharge Through Detachment

I - Ignite Compassion Satisfaction

V - Vow the Honor Your Humanness

I cycle through these on the blog, through the THRIV Newsletter, and in the Support Communities. This week is about Harnessing Social Support, so last week I was supposed to write the blog by Friday. Most weeks I have a draft done by midweek so my copywriter can proof it and make suggestions. But last week, Friday came around and I still hadn't written this blog. 

And I just couldn't make myself.

I was sitting at my desk staring at the blank page and nothing was coming. So finally, with great frustration, I Slacked a message to my copywriter and said, "No blog this week unless I get inspired." I closed my laptop, left my desk, and went and sat in the living room. 

I turned on the tv,...

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Coping with Emotional Triggers During An Election Cycle

I never knew education was a controversial topic until I became a teacher. I didn't realize there were people who believed that I was trying to sway students to believe a certain way or accept certain beliefs. It was completely out of my awareness. 

Then when I became a teacher, I started to listen and focus in on those conversations I saw happening on social media and in the mainstream media related to education, and it was really upsetting for me. 

I felt confused and offended and betrayed and angry. And there were times that I would ruminate about it for hours on end. I just couldn't understand how people could believe that me and my colleagues were doing anything other than teaching the curriculum we were mandated to teach and using best practices to do it. 

It hurt me emotionally because I didn't have the skills to know how to disconnect myself from that kind of negativity, and sometimes I felt like I couldn't look away! I just kept watching and reading comments...

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Moving from Surviving to Thriving: What Needs Are Not Getting Met?

What are the things you need to survive? 

In education, we often talk about Maslow's Hierarchy when we consider student needs.

If you need a reminder, Maslow proposed that our needs exist on a hierarchy where certain needs must be met before we can have other needs met. For example, physiological needs must be met before we can experience safety and belonging. While Maslow's theory of needs being hierarchical has been debunked, the categories of needs Maslow proposed are still valuable to consider.

When I talk with teachers about their needs in relation to Maslow's Hierarchy, most teachers will report that their needs are met. When asked about "self-actualization," most folks will respond with something like, "Well, I'm a work in progress, but the others are met for sure."

When I think about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, I think about the minimum we need to survive  the minimum we need to be "okay." 

But don't we all want to feel better than just "okay"? 

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