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After five years of college to become an occupational therapist I was eager and ready to be a force of good in the world. However, after two years of working in the field I found myself struggling to return to work day after day. I knew my work was needed but the emotional toil it took left me feeling depleted and unable to cope.

In the throes of burnout I searched from things that would comfort me. Things that promised me something better, a way out. What I found was that nothing could save me. No person, no activity, no habit or routine, no amount of love. What could save me is myself. Meditation, yoga, music, sketching, herbalism, and time in nature provided me with avenues that created space and time for me to come back into my body, into my mind, and return to my spirit. Through this attunement, that took many months of evolution, I began understanding and using my voice. Life became an art form grounded in joy and gratitude. Fear, fatigue, and inadequacy among other aspects still arise. …

We are currently living in a day and age where compassionate care often becomes secondary to monetary gain. However, recently there has been a push toward “compassionate” care.

What does offering compassionate care mean?

Is a lack of understanding and consideration already leading ‘compassion’ to be the next hot trend line item in medical care?

Let’s explore the deep meaning of offering compassionate care. I want to highlight the work of a nationwide organization called Carter for Compassion. In the book Compassion: Bridging practice and science where leaders in the fields of neuroscience, contemplative practice, and education offer deep reflection into this are of interest. …

What feelings do you associate with feeling burnout? Do you find yourself resistant to using this term? Or is the term something you consistently feel and think about? As a healthcare professional, I found myself unable to accept and adopt this term to define the state in which I felt. It was as if I was failing or inadequate to say, “I am burnout” — like I would never be able to accomplish what I wanted when I admitted to how I was feeling in the present moment.

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Oregon- Photo Credit: Suzanne Roche

However, I’d like to spend some time demystifying this word today. What I have uncovered, through deep exploration of the word burnout, is that burnout, like all emotions, are moving thoughts and feelings that you can choose to hold on to or allow to pass. I forget which meditation teacher of mine said,” Allow your thoughts to pass by like clouds in the sky.” This statement has always stuck with me. It brings light to how you can perpetuate suffering or even joy by attaching to your thoughts- not letting thoughts pass like a moving cloud. …


Suzanne Roche

OTR/L, MS, Chaplain, YTT 500

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