Empathy for YOU in Uncertain Times (Reflection #9)
We are living in an uncertain world especially now during this pandemic. Just living during this crisis impacts how we handle what we do and how we react to stress.
Stress is when you have multiple pressures that demand too much of you psychologically and physically. When you are stressed, you may believe that if you can just get everything under control, you will feel better. Stress involves “too much.” Stress can be perceived as negative if we don’t know how to react to that stress. There are signs that the stress you believe you cannot handle may be leading you toward burnout.
Being burned out means feeling empty, without any motivation, and beyond caring about what happens to you. When you experience burnout, you often don’t see any hope of positive change in your situations. Burnout means “not enough” or cannot cope anymore.
Table 7.1 Stress vs. Burnout (From page 116 in Define Your Why)
Stress (too much)
Burnout (not enough)
Characterized by over engagement
Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are overreactive
Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity
Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy
Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders
Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical
Primary damage is emotional
Serveyev, A. (2019). 16 Important Signs You are Heading for Burnout
I know I’ve felt “too much” many days and “not enough” more than I would like. I’ve heard this from teachers, parents, and students. Covid19 is a worldwide crisis, and no one has ever dealt with a situation like this in over 100 years.
Everyone in the whole world is living with uncertainty during this pandemic. Educators who are stressed or possibly burned out told me that they are not able to balance work and home, especially when teaching remotely. Their own children may be learning remotely and they feel responsible for their learning. Or they were asked to teach face-to-face without the proper safety procedures in place. Or they’ve been asked to teach a hybrid version that adds even more stress.
Breathe. All of us need to pause and breathe.
I read Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead and have been following her for years. What I’ve learned is that it takes courage to be the authentic you. This video on empathy helped me understand the difference between sympathy and empathy and what it means to care about others....
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