This article weaves together multiple threads of feeling, thinking, and doing (heart-head-hands) from my past few weeks, including:
- attention to my body’s fluctuating energy levels, seasonal changes, and continued recognition of semester rhythms;
- ongoing reflection on career discernment and my experience leaving higher ed; and
- development of the webinar and email series for educators and academics: “Where Do I Put My Energy? Navigating End-of-the-Year Exhaustion and Resetting for Summer.”
To weave these threads together, I walk through four questions in the article:
- What are semester rhythms?
- Why do these rhythms matter?
- How do these rhythms relate to burnout?
- How do we work with semester rhythms and recurring burnout?
Here’s a bit of the conclusion, the answer to this fourth question:
“Now that I’ve left my faculty position, I’m working to rebuild trust in myself — trust that I’ll recognize what my body needs and act on those needs. I’ll rest when needed, play when needed, and work when needed. I’ll recognize internalized semester rhythms, but also question and counter them.
* How do we more consistently show up for ourselves, our responsibilities, and our commitments — not simply in bursts or to the point of exhaustion?
* How do we change departmental and institutional cultures that stack so much up — one thing on top of another — at the end of the year?
* How do we better recognize when semester rhythms are dehumanizing — treating us as machines rather than fully embodied humans?
* How do we shift discourses away from imagined “work-life balance” (and purely personal responsibilities to make change) toward the need for collective, widespread and structural change?”
I come to this conclusion and call to action after reflecting on how I’ve associated semester rhythms with recurring seasonal burnout. That burnout, in turn, has accumulated over time so that I’m still healing from it and needing to rebuild trust in and with myself.
May it help educators and academics with navigating these final weeks of the academic year. And may time be ever-expanding, especially for folks navigating end-of-year exams, celebrations, defenses, graduations, grading, and more.
This post is written by Beth Godbee for Heart-Head-Hands.com. For support at the end of the school year, check out “Where Do I Put My Energy? Navigating End-of-the-Year Exhaustion and Resetting for Summer.” You might also be interested in the self-paced e-course with coaching: “Career Discernment for Academics: Aligning Career with Commitments.”
If you appreciate this site, if you connect with the storytelling, or if you use any of the recipes or resources, consider making a one-time or sustaining donation. Please also consider subscribing to posts and liking this blog on FB. Thanks!
Interested in listening to this blog post and the related IHE article?
Check out my Soundcloud account, and subscribe for new audio content.