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51. Teacher Pep Talk: How to Handle Busy Seasons and Avoid Teacher Burnout
Episode 519th May 2023 • The Resilient Teacher Podcast • Brittany Blackwell, Teacher Burnout Tips
00:00:00 00:19:16

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Are you one of those teachers who is piled with more and more at the end of the school year? Or maybe it's another time where it feels like it's just a lot on your plate? You probably call this your "busy season." Then again, as teachers, what season isn't busy, am I right?

In this episode, we are diving into the idea behind these "busy seasons" and how I've started to stop letting them get the best of me. I am giving you three practical and actionable tips to transform the feeling of chaos into calm and make little changes with BIG results so you don't burnout in this season.


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[0:00] Hey, hey teacher friend, you're listening in to episode 51 of the Resilient Teacher Podcast.

Depending on where you are in the world right now, summer is quickly approaching, which means you're probably taking standardized tests, wrapping up the end of the school year activities, awards days, field trips, all those things that we cram into the end of the school year. Not to mention, the week in which this is airing is teacher appreciation. But this episode isn't just for a specific time of the year. No, this episode is for you. If you're dealing with anything that we would consider a busy season, if you're struggling trying to figure out how to get it all done, how to reduce the stress of it all, need a little pep in your step and feeling like things are just way too much on your plate, keep listening because we're about to shift your mindset. So let's get into it. Before we get into this episode, I wanted to let you know that I am so thankful that you are here. For those of you who tune in every week, send me messages on Instagram. Those of you who are sharing the podcast with your teacher friends who are struggling or leaving reviews for the podcast, it truly.

[1:08] Means the world to me. Knowing that something I said helped you shift a perspective or do something different that.

[1:14] Helped you get through this week and feel better means a lot to me that you tune in. For those of you who are just tuning in for the first time, hey, welcome to the podcast.

My whole goal in creating these episodes for showing up is to remind you that you're not alone.

[1:29] Even when, gosh, like I know it feels like it.

To bring you that pick me up, that pep talk on the ride to work, or that tip that you try and it completely changes the game for you.

To get you doing things differently so you're not so overwhelmed, so that you don't feel so down.

To help you realize that your job is not your identity, to reignite your passion, and so you can make it a sustainable career for you.

Or honestly, just be that supportive person that maybe you don't have in your school building or at home that's got your back, that pushes you to remember how resilient you are.

That's what this podcast is all about.

So if you haven't done so before, please take just a quick minute, leave a little review or screenshot this episode and share it in your stories, because doing so helps the podcast to get into the earholes of more teachers who need it the most.

And so the end of the school year is really tough, right? It's tough every year, no matter how long you've been in education.

You see, we all go through these seasons of time where it's just a lot to pack in and it can really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, be really easy just to let that season overwhelm or stress us out.

I know, trust me, like, I get it.

Really, really, really, really, really, really, Lately, it seemed like a lot for me, too. I'm a mom. I'm a bonus mom of five kids.

[2:49] They all have different stuff going on. They've got birthdays, because three out of the five of them are in March and April.

Then they've got soccer and prom.

I'm still in the classroom as a teacher. I've been dealing with family stuff that we really didn't plan for.

I run this podcast, my business, my programs, single-handedly, but I can honestly tell you that as much as that sounds like, whoa, I am not allowing this season to get the best of me.

And if you're in that predicament too, you need something that's going to change your mindset.

There's this article that I read in Fast Company that really changed my mind about the way I call them Busy Seasons. The title of the article was, You'd Be a Lot Happier if You'd Stop Saying You're So Busy. If you ask most people how they're doing, at least half of them are going to give you this response that they're busy, or some like variation on that theme. In America, we often see busy as this badge of honor, like busyness equals value, like it's a status symbol. We've nurtured this narrative that busyness equals value, equals worth. And that's not true. The American Psychological Association states that anxiety and burnout from our busyness is at an all-time high, with 71% of Americans reporting stress during their workday. But here's the thing. When we think of ourselves as busy, we're.

[4:15] Making ourselves victims. And I highly doubt that you want to be a victim. You're listening to this podcast, so I know that you're stronger than that. In many ways, being busy means I have too many things to do and everything's outside of my control. I'm overwhelmed. You have more control than you're giving yourself credit for.

Instead of saying, this is a busy season, I'm changing my narrative, changing the vocabulary.

And instead, I'm using the season phrases like full or push.

For example, right now, I'd say that not only is the season full for me, but it's also really pushing me to do something outside of my comfort zone.

And I think that simple mindset shift has really given me a lot of peace.

When you think about busy people and productive people, busy people aren't making real progress.

They're overwhelmed. They're in this perpetual state of stress, way too many priorities like a chicken with their head cut off. And for me, like I don't want that.

[5:15] I don't want to feel stressed like who does? Being busy isn't this focused energy.

It's chaotic. Instead of seeing yourself as a victim of this, choose instead intentional actions that reduce the stress. Purposely having a full or push season, that's okay. It's going to get you to a place where you're meeting your goal. Busy seasons are just unfocused. That's why push or pull seasons, they give us ownership to ourselves. Instead of feeling like, ah, there's too much on my plate, it's transformed into the tasks on our plates are not these burdens, but rather choices, blessings. Like for me, that feels so much more empowering. Like, yeah, maybe there's a lot going on. But what is being done is pushing me towards my vision. It's aligning with my values, my priorities, and I can choose to be driven in my mission and working smarter, not harder. I know that my family is important. So sometimes they're going to take up a lot more of my plate than other areas. That's been a challenge. But it hasn't deterred me from what I want to do. I think the way that we speak to ourselves and about ourselves, has this real power. And so changing how we go about speaking about specific timeframes.

[6:39] Maybe is just a small change, but it's got some really big power.

[6:44] I chose to experience some of these extra tasks on my plate, so if I don't like them, let's kick those out. Let's set some boundaries around our time, our energy.

[6:54] So how can we feel less overwhelmed, less stressed, other than just saying, I'm in a full season?

Because for some of you, just changing the narrative, that's not going to work.

It's still going to feel like you're lying to yourself, especially if you've been in the stress cycle for a really long time, it's going to feel unnatural just to call it a new name. It's still the stress cycle, regardless, right? So my first tip for you is, No. 1, define your priorities for this chapter of your teaching journey. Now, I want to emphasize the importance of considering the current chapter you're in. When it comes to these non-negotiable priorities, we got to recognize that they're fluid, they're responsive to change. Just like seasons transition, so should our priorities. Like for me currently, this season requires me to be a little less visible on social media. My priorities are with my family, you guys here on the podcast, my students in the Automate Your Classroom program. So I'm not as focused on making a TikTok or showing up there, because I know the value that I want to provide in those areas and in my priorities. So sometimes I have to take a couple of things off my plate to show up where my priorities lie. Think about how your priorities as an educator may differ from a year ago.

[8:15] Maybe you've taken on new roles. You've experienced big life changes.

It's really only natural for your non-negotiable priorities to kind of evolve.

[8:25] Alongside these shifts. Your absolute priority should be in line with the time of the year.

So it's gonna be too heavy for your current season to continue lugging around all your priorities from previous seasons.

Think about it. What if you never put up your winter clothes?

[8:43] It's going to clutter up your closet, and it's going to make it really difficult to find the clothes that you need to wear for your current season. It's a lot like that.

So to truly optimize what your non-negotiable priorities are, they have to resonate with your current circumstances.

If something's non-negotiable, it's non-negotiable. There is no room for debate. It's not a, well, I've got time for this, I'll get to it.

No, it's an essential thread that weaves through the fabric of your life and it impacts your daily choices.

The true power of non-negotiable priorities is in how selective you are with it.

Having an excessive number of non-negotiables makes it less impactful.

It diminishes your ability to dedicate yourself fully.

You're only one person. Spreading yourself too thin is going to hinder how you show up.

So I want you to think about that. What chapter do you find yourself in as an educator? And what are the key areas that hold profound significance to you? These are going to serve as those unwavering or non-negotiable priorities, those, focal points where you can invest your time, your energy, your resources. By aligning your priorities with your current circumstances, you're going to start to see the progress in those full seasons. You'll start to recognize, hey, like I'm doing this for a reason.

This isn't chaos, this is what I need in order to see my goals manifest.


Is it planning out what you're gonna eat each day? Is it creating more engaging lesson plans for your students?

Is it changing positions in your current school or planning a trip for the summer?

Is it going back to school to do something different?

You gotta name the reason why the season is full and then make sure that this thing actually needs to be taking up so much real estate in your life right now.

Number two, decide what habits you're committing to daily, weekly, monthly, during the season.

These are these non-negotiable priorities. So it's really important to explicitly name these so you can actually show up for them.

Like imagine a day in your life or a week in your life. Think about your whole life.

So personal, professional, what do you need?


Think about your relationships, your health, your personal growth, your self-care, your work, your education, your finances, your home. Again, these are just things to kind of get your wheels turning so you don't need to have priorities in all of these categories for every season.




That's a transition ritual I do every day. Maybe it's taking a silent walk around your neighborhood, listening to a podcast in silence without anybody asking you a question, going to get your toes done, or just taking your planning period to stare at a wall.

Whatever feels good to you, I encourage you to write that in your calendar too.

Set aside that time where you're going to intentionally take some time to recharge for Thank you.


So if you're listening to this around the time that I'm releasing this episode, maybe it's the end of the school year and your end goal is summer break.

What do you have to do before you can sign out and start your summer break?

Well, you might have to pack up all your stuff. But before you can pack up all your stuff, you need to organize your stuff.

Before you organize your stuff, you're going to need to complete all of your grading and report card comments.


You see where I'm going with this?

All the way up into your current spot. So your current space is just figuring out what the remainder of the stuff is you're gonna grade for the rest of the school year.


You can apply this principle to like lots of different types of projects, goals.