[KO means Knock Out] =) We just finished the Music Therapy Burnout Prevention bonus calls over at MusicTherapyEd.com, and I’m on fire with this topic! Plus, I’ve received NUMEROUS emails from music therapists asking about burnout. I just have to write on this topic.
You see, when people enter their name and email over at MusicTherapyEd.com, they automatically receive an email that asks about their biggest challenges as a music therapist. This is important information for me to know as the instructors and I do our best to deeply serve the community with our continuing education courses. It also helps me scout out the best possible future course releases to help music therapists thrive and prosper.
And that’s why a lot of people are writing me about burnout. Because I asked for it.
I think I have experienced burnout myself (if not on-the-verge-burnout), and I think I know how it feels. I’ve definitely experienced depression, so if it’s similar, then I’m at least vaguely familiar. Here’s my take: You’ve got to make a BIG change in something, somehow. You’ve got to just bite the bullet and take action, even if it’s a baby step.
Here’s what I’ve done in the past:
1. Taken an entire month off — even though I didn’t think I could financially do it, I did it, and came back to more clients and more work that totally paid off in the end! I wrote about that experience in my laryngitis post.
2. Taken a week off to travel – roadtrip, mountain camping with friends, beach getaway, SOMEthing to get out of the routine, get my mind off the clients to return refreshed.
3. Used ALL new music. I spent an entire day learning ALL brand new songs. I went back to sessions the next week, and stayed far, far away from any old songs that I used to use. Might be better if 2 days are taken actually…
4. Invited someone to come observe me. Just the presence of having a student, intern, volunteer, or colleague will completely change your mindset and make you think… “Hm, what does this look like from the outside? What am I achieving? How are my clients responding (if applicable)? What’s going on here?”
5. Changed the schedule. Even simply doing afternoon groups in the MORNING instead feels wayyyyy different than the usual.
6. Used something totally outside of the box and creative. Use miming, or some sort of drama therapy intervention just to change it up. Go observe an art therapist, or other creative arts therapist, and integrate their ideas with your own.
7. Take a workshop for yourself. Find something that will feed your soul. Go in to the workshop with the intention of shaking it up within yourSELF first. Find some way, any way, to see the world from a new lens. This will automatically help you re-boot with your clients.
8. There are other ideas that are more drastic like…. move to a new city, surround yourself with non-English speaking folks for a weekend, attend a SILENCE retreat… but those are a little crazier.
If you are experiencing burnout, hang in there friend! I have definitely felt it. I think the important thing is to TAKE ACTION on making a change. Just take some sort of baby-step towards changing your scenery.
Oooooo. One more thing. The holidays totally recharge me for the new year! I’m so busy doing holiday music that when January comes around, the regular interventions feel NEW…. How do YOU shake it up to give burnout the big KO?