Susanna Eckblad knows about helping others. As a social worker and yoga teacher, much of her time is spent making sure her clients and students are safe, sound, and de-stressed. As much as she loves her job, she knows how easy it can be to dive in headfirst only to emerge drained and depleted.
As co-leader of the upcoming workshop, Preventing Burnout, we asked Susanna a few questions about how she got where she is, and how she can help you stay focused, energized, and sane at work.
Why do people get burned out? Is it an epidemic in our society?
Burnout has many sources. Most of them are actually internal although sometimes the source is experienced as more external e.g. a workplace or clients that seem to be an unlimited source of need. Often the tendency to get burned out out is an extension of a person’s good qualities such as their energy or passion and dedication. For example, I see that when I give a lot to my job, I get good results, so I think that if I give more, I should get even more good results. But it doesn’t work like that, you know? At some point the law of diminishing returns kicks in. I do think for people in helping professions, the experience of burnout affects almost everyone at some point. But for some people, it causes them to actually leave their profession and for others, it’s a stage that they work through. And just because you’ve worked through it once, doesn’t mean you won’t experience it again! But when it comes, it can be an amazing teacher, showing you where you still need to grow.
How did you get interested in this work?
Julia and I met a few years ago when I was participating in her annual training on teaching Chair Yoga and she suggested the idea of co-presenting this type of workshop. One of her main areas of interest as a yoga therapist is working with caregivers. I loved the idea since although I had already been practicing yoga for many years, I was only finally starting to apply the teachings in my job as a social worker. I used to leave work feeling anxious and overwhelmed; I no longer do and I completely credit yoga. And when I say yoga, I mean not just asana practice–although of course, that is huge–but the breathwork, philosophy, and most importantly for me, meditation.
Who can benefit from this workshop?
Anyone with a job in a helping profession could benefit, especially anyone whose job sometimes feels too taxing or emotionally draining. In the past, we’ve had social workers, psychotherapists, attorneys, teachers, nurse practitioners. It’s a great workshop for those who are currently practicing yoga but feel that the benefits they get from yoga aren’t necessarily carrying over into their work world. No previous yoga experience is necessary so it could also be a great workshop for your non-yoga practicing friends or family!