Stress is no stranger to individuals and families affected by disabilities. As a parent of a child with a rare genetic disorder, the stress is chronic. Sometimes I get asked, “How do you do it?!” Depending on the day, the answer ranges from “I don’t have a choice” to “not very well”.
Due to the additional challenges that 2020 has thrown into the mix, burnout is more of a concern than ever before, and that’s really saying something! I usually keep pressing on, clenching my teeth and pushing through, sometimes one moment at a time. But this year, wow. I just can’t anymore. I’m totally burned out, and I know I’m not alone.
Typical talk-therapy hasn’t been very effective for me in managing stress or healing from life’s traumas, so I was very intrigued when I recently learned about something called somatic experiencing– a therapy method that’s a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. A recent podcast episode hosted by Brené Brown touched on this very subject.
Brené Brown is a storyteller-researcher whose books and podcast have immensely helped my personal growth over the last year and a half. Her “Unlocking Us” podcast episode on October 14th featured authors of a book called “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle”. In this episode, 7 evidence-based strategies to completing the stress cycle are discussed: physical activity, breathing, positive social interaction, affection, laughter, creative expression, and a big ol’ cry.
I invite you to have a listen (link below), read the book, or learn more about somatic experiencing. Maybe this information can help you start down a path towards better management of this crazy stress we’re under. I am going to continue to dig in so I can press on in a way that is more sustainable and healthy for me and my family.
Let’s gather round and make s’mores with this fire… What do you do to quell the burnout flames? I’d love to hear about your journey in the comments, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy Fiscus, Sunrise Village President