SLP Toolkit Podcast, Episode 28, Transcript

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Lisa: (00:10) Hey Sarah.

Sarah: (00:38) Well, hi Lisa.

Lisa: (00:39) How’s it going today?

Sarah: (00:40) Wonderful, actually.

Lisa: (00:41) What makes it wonderful?

Sarah: (00:43) I am feeling really motivated for the first time in a while.

Lisa: (00:47) Did you have an extra red bull or is this intrinsic?

Sarah: (00:50) No, no. I had two red bulls this morning.

Lisa: (00:51) Okay. Well that helps. It does give you wings.

Sarah: (00:53) I do have wings. So anyway, things are good. We’re going to knock some stuff off of our to do list. And one of the things that I’m really excited about is this episode.

Lisa: (01:02) Cool. Who do we have on today?

Sarah: (01:04) So we have somebody in the confessional and we are really excited to have– one, this topic is so timely, but also to get some real practical strategies and tips for managing stress and what a perfect time of year. I think you and I have talked about, like, we feel like we almost went into hibernation.

Lisa: (01:21) Yeah, it’s bad.

Sarah: (01:22) Yeah. We got so stressed that we kind of just shut down and it got bad for a little bit. We’re back. So that’s the good news. But anyway, we thought, I know you’re all kind of feeling the same thing and this will be a perfect time to have this conversation. And so we have in the confessional, Jessie Andricks who has a podcast called SLP Stress Management. So if anybody’s going to be able to talk about this, it is her. So welcome Jesse!

Jessi: (01:47) Hey, thanks for having me on today.

Sarah: (01:49) We are so excited. I have seen some of the episodes that you have done and the tips and suggestions you have for helping SLPs with this. And it sounds like this is kind of your mission, right? This is what you want to really focus on.

Jessi: (02:04) Yeah, it is absolutely. It is my mission because it’s what I’ve experienced and what I’ve been through. And it led me to quit for a few years and then coming back I realized that there were so many SLPs that are feeling this and kind of like debating if they should quit their job or not, or quit their setting or something. But everybody is feeling stressed out. It’s like an epidemic.

Lisa: (02:31) It is a huge trend. I feel like people are not even just like what you were saying, like not even wanting to go from one setting to another, but it’s like, they want completely out of the field. They want to go like walk dogs, or work at Starbucks. Or they’re like, screw this–

Sarah: (02:46) Or become a baker.

Lisa: (02:47) Yes, yes. I want to do that. But no, it is. It’s like this interesting trend that I don’t think– this is a fairly new trend within the past probably five years I would say is when I’ve been starting to see this pop up.

Jessi: (03:03) Yeah, for sure. I left the field. Oh my gosh. It feels like it was not that long ago, but I think it was in like 2012. And I left for like four years or so and came back. So it was like, when I left, I felt like I was the only person there was like, no one else. Everybody seemed really excited to be at work. And I was just like, oh, I don’t want to be here. And then when I came back, I was really excited to be back and everybody else was kind of like, oh, I don’t want to be here. I was like, oh no, what happened?

Lisa: (03:36) What got you to that tipping point? As far as where you– it wasn’t even just like, I’m talking about quitting, but I’m really, I’m done I’m out.

Jessi: (03:44) Yeah. It was like, I think it started a little in grad school. Just that like overwhelm of this is your life now, this is what everything has to be focused on. And then there was this excitement of once you get into the field, you can do it your own way. Everything will be great. And then you get out there and that’s just not the reality of it. I worked in a few different settings, so it wasn’t like a specific thing that happened or that, you know, I was somewhere for a really long time and then got burnt out on it. It was just like each setting that I went to there’d be something different or like, it would be really great and then I’d noticed the stress would come back and then it would just continue to grow. But my final setting, kind of the one that just did me in was I was in the schools. So being in the schools was really hard and I was in a really great supportive school. It wasn’t like the admin was awful. The teacher, they were all so wonderful and just so sweet. And when I told them I was quitting, they were excited about it.

Lisa: (04:52) They’re like yay! Somebody is getting out.

Jessi: (04:55) Yeah, they were like oh that’s so great!

Lisa: (04:59) Take me!

Jessi: (04:59) I left to go teach yoga. And they were like, well, that’s exciting and different. And if you ever want to come back, you can come back here. It’s okay. Like, it wasn’t that it was just the actual day in and day out was–

Lisa: (05:12) Tough.

Jessi: (05:13) It was, it was just– and there was nothing specific, but just the amount of little things that were stressful that built up and then not knowing what to do about it and kind of feeling more stress, trying to figure out how to not be stressed.

Sarah: (05:29) Yeah. And I think that that’s the thing. And I’m seeing more comments about it in Facebook groups and things like that too, about like, does anybody really love this job still? You know?

Lisa: (05:40) Would you recommend it to somebody?

Sarah: (05:41) Yeah, would you recommend it to somebody else? And that actually always gives me pause because I love this profession. And I recommend this as a job, genuinely recommend it all the time. And yet at the same time, I was miserable at times and I was stressed and I was overwhelmed and I wanted to again, quit and do anything but working in that field. So it’s one of those things where we go into this profession for a reason because we’re wanting to be in a service position and we want to make change and we want to do all these great things. And then the reality is I think it gets to be overshadowed by all of the parts that are just not great.

Lisa: (06:25) Well, it’s almost like having a baby where you think you know how it’s going to be, and then it like totally shows you that maybe some of those things are true, but then there’s a whole myriad of other things that come along with this position that you can’t really anticipate. And probably a lot of how you deal with stress and how you deal with change and how you deal with adversity is a huge art. And I think of, even if you’re like really great at those things, there are times where you’re just tired and overwhelmed. Maybe even personally, where you don’t have the skills maybe in that moment to deal with, you know, this is an ongoing thing that you have to deal with. Especially a school based SLPs.

Jessi: (07:02) It’s really true. And I think something I noticed is when you’re in grad school and you’re going through it, it’s a different kind of stress because you’re trying to make grades and be the best you can be and–

Lisa: (07:19) (unintelligible) you prepped for that your whole life to get to grad school.

Jessi: (07:22) Right? it’s crazy. And then when you’re in the clinicals, you’re learning so much, but a lot of it is about how to do the therapy and how to run the sessions. And you definitely– you’re learning how to document or write notes, but all the extra stuff I feel like you don’t know about until you’re there. Like all of the extra duties or the billing side of things and all of these little pieces of paperwork and all of those we don’t always know about. And then you’re in the job and you’re like, oh my gosh, this is so much more than what I was pepared for.

Sarah: (07:57) Yep. We talk about that all the time. I always feel like we pick these topics to present on that are not real glamorous. They’re not exciting. We’re not showing, like being an expert in any one specific niche area. It’s about all of those things. I just don’t think they did a great job of preparing us for and that’s paperwork and data collection and goal writing and–

Lisa: (08:18) but we’ve talked about too. I feel like sometimes grad school sets you up to fail and I don’t mean that on any particular program, but it’s, we feel like we’re supposed to graduate. We’ve kind of talked about this maybe even in another podcast where you feel like you’re supposed to have this magic wand and then you go out and even like, I can remember teachers labeling me, like my first year an expert in what I was doing. And I’m like, doesn’t an expert take some time? You don’t really have your voice to really say that. You’re like, oh, well they’re expecting me to be this. So I guess I’m the expert. Let’s go with this. I feel like we are being set up where then you start to think, well, shit, is it just me that I’m the only not expert of my program? Did all of my classmates learn everything. and they come out like this just blazing with–

Sarah: (09:06) 'cause nobody wants to admit it.

Lisa: (09:06) well and that’s what I mean. I think that’s what part of it is too, when you’re just like, holy crap. I don’t know what to do with any of this. Instead of even just trying to figure out your job, it’s like you’re under this lens of perfectionism.

Jessi: (09:21) It’s so true. And that drives the stress. And then you kind of feel isolated because even when you’re with other SLPs in your building, wherever you’re at, and then you’re all feeling that, but none of you want to mention it to each other and then you’re making it look like everything’s cool. Like, yeah, everything’s good. I got this. Like, I totally, totally love this. And then inside, you’re just like, oh my gosh, what is going on? It just makes it the stress even worse. And, it just keeps kind of going from there.

Lisa: (09:55) So going from where you were at and then teaching yoga. How did you shifts back in? You know, let that pendulum swing to where you’re like okay, maybe I’ll give this another go.

Jessi: (10:05) So I had a baby. That was kind of it. No, but I taught at a yoga studio and helped run it and then the owner was moving and so they closed the studio and I was going on maternity leave. And it was just like, what do I do now? And I was like well, I could take my little newborn to all these different studios and gyms and put them in like the daycare and the childcare. And that’s awesome if you want to. And it’s great that that can happen, but I didn’t want to do that. That just seemed like it would be really stressful to do. And so I was like, okay well.

Lisa: (10:43) You’re like, I have this master’s degree.

Jessi: (10:47) I heard someone put something about a PRN job out there where I lived and I was like I can probably do PRN. I don’t have to go back full time. I could do one day a week or I could do part time. And I ended up going into teletherapy because I could do part time hours, really kind of casually get back in the field. So I did that. I think it started out with like five hours a week and then built up to like 10, my first year back, and then just kind of jumped back into it after that. And it did get stressful at times. Like it wasn’t like I had this solution, alright, I’ve been through it and I’ll never be stressed or feel burnt out ever, ever again. It was like even though I had been burnt out, left, came back, was enjoying it, there were just times where I’d get really overwhelmed. I would agree to do too much and take on too many students and realize wait, I wanted more freedom than this, but I knew what to do.

Lisa: (11:50) Go cry in your car?

Jessi: (11:50) Before things got out of whack. Like before I didn’t know what to do. And now it was like, I feel really stressed. Oh yeah, I’m not taking care of myself or making time for what I need or any of these things. No wonder, I feel really stressed.

Sarah: (12:03) That’s something I’m glad you brought up too, because that’s one of the things that we need to remember. One of the recommendations of why I tell people that this is the greatest job is it is super flexible if you want to have a family, there are lots of options. So you can either– like I waited to go back into the field until my kids were in school. And then they worked at the school, they went to the same school I worked at, we had the same breaks. You know, here, you’ve got a baby at home, you’re doing teletherapy. It’s a cool job if you want to have a family or you want to have flexibility or try different settings and things, there is some great perks to it. And so I can see why you would go back and do it, but there’s still those challenges and stuff that we have to get through.

Lisa: (12:48) And do you feel like you can start being flexible? Like I feel like now I totally get the flexibility in the job and all of these things I could do. I could do PRN, I could do the evaluations, I could do teletherapy. And I feel like I have the skills. But what about like– not first year out, you’re getting your C’s anyways, but do you feel like there’s a point in your career where you can get like that? Or do you feel like you could just do it year two when you have your C’s?

Sarah: (13:12) What? Like flexible job? Oh, I don’t know.

Jessi: (13:16) Yeah. I guess I kind of feel like maybe when you first start it’s kind of what you said, you feel like all of a sudden people are telling you, you know everything, you’re the expert. So you kind of feel like you have to do it. And it seems like a lot of people right out of grad school and right out of their CF tend to be super stressed out. And it’s because they feel like they have to know everything and work all the time. And then I think once you start shifting things in your life, sometimes you’re like, well, I guess my job is going to shift. And it’s not that it always takes away the stress. It could be different stress then, but yeah, I think after a while you just– every body ends up getting creative with the job.

Sarah: (13:59) Yeah. Well, and that’s one thing. So, you know, obviously we know what’s causing the burden and the stress. I mean, everybody is aware of what the problems are. It’s caseload sizes and paperwork demands and responsibilities continuing to grow each and every year that we’re in this field. And so all of those things. And so of course, we’re always trying to find ways to be creative about solutions to that. And maybe ways we can advocate for some things as far as like workload and caseload and things like that. But if none of that changes then I think that’s why we really wanted to have this episode. If none of that changes, how is it that we can manage our stress? How is it that we are able to handle that feeling of burden, not get burnt out and continue to stay in this field? Because we need SLPs in the schools. And so do you have some solutions and tips that can really help us keep the joy in the job and not get super stressed out and not want to quit and become a baker?

Lisa: (14:57) Well tips, and then also how do you identify when you’re at that point of burnout? And not just in a normal stress kind of?

Lisa: (15:04) So it’s what you said about it. There are definitely things that we’d like to see change, but even if we may feel like they’re not changing, we may not know. And it might take a really long time for the big changes to occur, like policies to change and things. So, yeah. So we have to figure out how to manage the stress, while we’re fighting it or while we’re waiting for it to happen. So stress kind of goes, it starts as daily stress, which I like to think of as just like annoyances, things that are just annoying, but then you’re half an hour later, you’ve either forgotten about it or it’s done. But when you have that happen all day, you never get to get to that point of okay, that’s done. Or if it just keeps happening every day it’s going to become more and more stressful. Like you’re starting to anticipate it happening. So when we don’t know what to do with that, or can’t manage that and let it go, then it becomes chronic stress and burnout is chronic stress that is not managed. So we start to feel chronically stressed and stress is a little bit more of a nervous energy behind it. You feel like, okay, I’m really stressed. I’ve got to figure this out. I’ve got to do better at prepping my sessions. I’ve got to do better at organizing. I’ve got to get my resume in check. I’ve got to do more and more and more. And so it’s almost like you’re a little frantic at times. Like, you’re, you’re just going into hyperdrive. And then burnout is you’ve been going at that so long that the only place to go is down. So it’s kind of more like you’ve checked out. You’re like, I’ll show up, I’ll do a good job, but I’m not going to push to do more and more and more than I have to. And it becomes a little bit like a cynical attitude, you’re just kind of lethargic about work. When you talk about work, it’s kind of like, does it even matter if I go today? You kind of get into that mindset. And then the bad part about it besides the whole burnout thing, is that it just looks like you’re laid back sometimes. So your bosses may actually appreciate it and think that you’re really dedicated. And you’re just so easy to work with, but on the inside you’re like I don’t want to be here, I’m just going to do whatever. Let me be in a meeting, I’ll be at a meeting I’ve given up. I’m not gonna fight. But you’re not happy about being there.

Lisa: (17:45) Interesting.

Jessi: (17:46) Which is how I was, when I left the schools, they were like, oh, but you’re so great to work with. And I was like that’s cause I’ve just given up, I’m just here. I’m here ‘cause I have to be here. Like there’s kids to see.

Lisa: (18:03) They’re like aren’t we all? Aren’t we all.

Sarah: (18:03) Amazing, I have never heard of that. You look like just chill and zen. And instead it’s because you haven given up.

Lisa: (18:11) You’re crying on the inside.

Jessi: (18:11) Exactly. You’re crying on the inside for sure. Yeah. It’s crazy. So it’s not a fun place to be and it’s not like you’re just like cool I’m going to just chill at work today and have a great time. You’re just kind of like when can I possibly leave?

Lisa: (18:31) So is that when to kind of like identifying where you’re at on the spectrum of stress?

Jessi: (18:36) Yeah. So it’s like you go from daily to chronic, to burnout. And hopefully you never get to burnout. Hopefully if you realize you’re in chronic stress, you can figure out what to do about it before you get to that burn out part. But burn out is just you basically have given up on it. You’re going to go, you’re going to do a good job because you care about the students or the clients that you’re seeing, but you’re not passionate and wanting to be there. It’s kind of like if you get to the point where you would rather have a day where you were home sick than be at work, it’s probably not a good sign.

Lisa: (19:12) Sarah talks about when she was in grad school, she wanted to crash her car into a wall and not like really hurt herself–

Sarah: (19:17) Yeah like a low speed.

Lisa: (19:18) Yeah, at a low speed, just so she could be like in a body cast or something. (unintelligible) Just so she could rest for a few weeks in a body cast and nobody could ask her to do anything.

Sarah: (19:29) I knew I needed to be hurt enough to have an excuse, to like be, you know on bed rest.

Lisa: (19:37) So would that be burn out? I think that might be burn out.

Sarah: (19:48) You have struck a nerve with me more times than I can tell you. I just found– it popped up in my Facebook or something where I had written when we first started this whole thing, we had just created a blog. One of the very first articles I wrote was “Confessions of a School-Based SLP.” And I was reading the things I confessed and one, I was like, damn, that was pretty bold. But one of them was that I call in sick just because I would need a day off or I would call in sick to get caught up on paperwork. Or I would call– like I realized I took all my sick days and I was never sick. It was that bad.

Jessi: (20:23) Which it’s crazy that we– because it’s good to take days off, but then you’re having to hide why you’re actually taking it off and just being like, well, I needed a day. So it’s cool. Yeah, everybody needs a day. It’s like, you get into this okay, I got to pretend that I’m sick. I’m not going to go in. Or like you said, you’re taking a day off to do work. And then that’s like, oh gosh, that’s terrible.

Lisa: (20:49) It’s like Ferris Bueller where people sent you like sympathy cards.

Sarah: (20:53) Flowers, get well messages.

Lisa: (20:54) So what can we do to– wherever we’re at, are there different tips for where you’re at on this spectrum of stress? Or is it pretty much consistent, no matter where you’re at?

Jessi: (21:06) It’s pretty consistent. Like how much you’re gonna end up doing or what’s gonna come up for you when you’re starting to manage stress will be different. But it’s stuff that’s really simple. And it’s not like there’s a big secret thing that no one’s ever heard of before. And I know that’s what everybody wants. Right? Like we all want, like, what’s the big secret?

Lisa: (21:30) Like a pill, I wanna take a pill every day. It’s called Xanax. (unintelligible)

Jessi: (21:41) knowing what to do and then actually being able to do it are so different. I mean we know that, but it’s like when we teach our kids and our students, like, hey, here’s what you’re going to do. And they’re like, okay, I’ve got it. And then it’s like, okay, let’s do it. And then they don’t do it. You know? it’s they can start to understand it, but to actually do it, it doesn’t always happen. So the things that we can do are basically mindfulness, incorporating mindfulness type of activities or self care or positivity into our day. And the reason is that it’s all of this stress that we experience, there are definitely things that are going to trigger stress. And a lot of them are really big things like case loads that you don’t know what to do with, or paperwork that is impossible to get done. But those are just things. The stress is the way that our brain interprets it. And it’s not our fault. Everyone’s brain is wired to interpret that as stress. And it’s an ancient– well, that sounds mystical and crazy. It’s just the way our brains have evolved since we were cave men and women, but it’s a survival thing. So our brain evolved to look for threats because when our brain was evolving, the threats were like, you are going to be eaten by a bear or a tiger or something. You need to know what to do. And so it would be a big stressful event. And then it’s done. But now it’s little stress all the time, but we still experience it the same way. Our brain still processes it. So paperwork is not life or death for us, but our brain is telling us it is, and it’s like, whoa, red flag.

Lisa: (23:31) super interesting.

Jessi: (23:32) Yeah. And then it just keeps looking for it because your brain wants to protect you. So it keeps looking for stress, but then that makes you more stressed. And then your brain looks for more stress. So it’s this big cycle of stress gets triggered. And if it doesn’t go away, it just keeps building and building and building. And that’s why it shoots to burn out. So it makes you focus on the negative things on your day. And you can think on those days that you’re really burnt out or really stressed and wanting to drive your car into a wall. All you can focus on is what is not working. School is really hard or work is really hard. There’s way too much paperwork. I don’t know what to do with this student, they’re not meeting their goals. There’s all these crazy meetings I have. And your brain is going to focus on those because it’s trying to protect you from them, but it’s just totally backfiring. So if we start to look at positive things or take time to do things that interrupt that signal in our brain and kind of bring more calm in, then it just turns that response down a little bit. So we’re able to process things. Cause when that response is on, it starts to shut down our prefrontal cortex. So you know, all the stuff that teaches us how to problem solve and think through that’s all gone. And so we’re just kind of like, ah, everything’s terrible. I’m stressed. This is the worst, I’ve got to get out of here. This is just terrible. So we can do things that shift. And they’re really simple things, but again, it’s hard to incorporate when you’re already feeling really stressed.

Sarah: (25:08) Cause I love that you talked about, you’ve gotta be self aware. You’ve got to know that’s what’s happening. That minute that you’re realizing that you’re in this kind of vicious cycle of negativity and stress, you’ve gotta be aware of that. And then yeah, like Lisa said, so what are some things that we can do to try to have some more mindfulness?

Jessi: (25:29) Yeah. So like you said, awareness is so key because that’s the first step, because if you aren’t aware of what’s happening, you just kind of keep going through your day or you start to think well, this is just how things are when you’re adulting. And so you have to be aware of oh my gosh, I’m really stressed out right now. What’s going on? And kind of figure out what that stress might be being triggered by. But then the things you can do to help reset it are things like meditating or self care. Not the bubble bath type of self care. That’s really good. Cause if you enjoy it, because it’s just doing something you like, but deeper self care. Like journaling or where you might be writing about what’s challenging you that day. Or going and seeing a therapist, if that’s what you need, the things that might be harder or just sitting quietly where you let your thoughts come up. Cause sometimes what you are feeling and thinking is not, you know, we try and avoid it. So basically things that help you check in. A lot of the time we like to do the things that help us check out like binge watch stuff on Netflix. And that’s self care. That’s good once in a while, cause sometimes you just need a total break. But if you do it every night, it’s just going to let everything build under the surface.

Lisa: (27:01) I’m on level 6,000 of candy crush. That’s probably not a good thing.

Sarah: (27:07) I’m so glad you just said that about Netflix. We joke about it all the time. Like what are we doing this weekend? And it’s a Netflix marathon every weekend. I think we talk about this and it’s true. Actually I do spend a lot of time binge watching. I literally have gotten to the point where I don’t have any shows left to watch. I’ve had to go into other countries. Now I’m on British television. I actually thought it– and as naive and stupid as this is about to sound, I actually thought that was healthy for me that I just need a way to shut down my brain. And so that it was okay and I let myself have that excuse. And then I just talked to somebody who is a psychologist and she was like, no, no, you’re checking out, that’s actually not a positive thing. She’s like, it’s okay if you want to watch an hour of TV here and there. But if you’re doing like an eight hour marathon and you are checking out, that causes so many problems. Lack of motivation, and my ability to get up and get going and stuff, depression, sadness, and all these other things that come with it. And I was like, holy shit. I did not know. And so, oh, I’m so glad you brought that up.

Lisa: (28:17) Checking in, not checking out. Checking in being the things like the meditating or maybe even journaling or exercise.

Jessi: (28:26) Yeah. So, and with exercise, you can think of it as doing something that’s going to make you feel good, not something that you’re punishing yourself for doing. Because that’s how we tend to approach any kind of exercise or movement. It’s a punishment for not moving enough or not eating right or whatever it might be. But if going outside and taking a walk feels really good, finding time to do that. And then it gets you breathing, it gets your blood pumping through. It gives you too– if you’re really stressed and you’re sitting in your office and what’s stressing you out is your work and you’re in your work space. Getting away from that for a little bit, just helps you clear your head. Meditation is really good because it uses the breath to help you. When you’re really stressed, your breath is going to be short and shallow. And then when you’re feeling really calm and happy, your breath is a lot deeper. And so you can make your breath deeper, which tricks your brain into thinking okay, cool, everything’s great. My breath is calm, it’s deep. So meditation can do that, and it also just helps you focus on something else or if you have a positive mantra or something. And then journaling, I like to do two different kinds. If you’re really stressed and your brain is just spiraling to the worst case scenario or just stuck thinking about something stressful that happened. I like to do a brain dump where you just take five minutes and just write the whole thing down. That way it’s not in your head anymore, it’s living on the paper instead. And then it gives it somewhere else to be. But then it also gives you– like you can read over it and be like, oh, that’s what’s happening. Get some insights from it. And then the other kind is a positivity or gratitude journal. So just writing three moments from your day that were good. And that helps your brain to shift away from the focusing only on the negative to seeing yes, there are parts of your day that just absolutely suck and they’re terrible, but these parts of your day are also happening. And they were really good. Even if they’re really small, like someone brings you a coffee, although that is a fantastic thing. That would make my day. That would be the best. But whatever it might be, just writing down three things and that starts to shift you. So all of the things can help you turn down stress responses in the body and in the brain, but then also shift to the more positive. So you’re able to build resilience and get out of the stress when you need it.

Lisa: (31:10) Well, and it is, I mean, we can so easily cycle into– like spin out with the negativity, and that’s where I think we even see our SLP community a lot is just the internal focus on all of the bad things going on, which definitely venting is okay. But when it becomes all you can think about, then that’s where I think it starts to become, you know, not only are you burned out, but you’re bringing everyone else down with you. We need to put some efforts into solutions for things.

Jessi: (31:40) Yeah. It just becomes all consuming. And there is, you know, we don’t want to ignore that things aren’t going well sometimes. It’s not that you’re pretending that everything’s great when it’s not, because that’s kind of like checking out. But it’s just saying that those can happen, but you can still have good that happens too. And the more that you train your brain to look for the good, the more that that stress is still there, or those things that triggered your stress are still there, they’re just not going to affect you or stay with you as deeply.

Lisa: (32:16) So did you go down this journey of figuring all this out when you were a yoga instructor? Like you just kind of analyzed what made you leave and then you’re like, okay, I’m going back, but–?

Jessi: (32:25) I left– well, I started taking yoga and I just knew in one of the first classes that I went to, I was like, I want to teach this. I wanted to just learn more about it and figure out how to teach it. Cause it just seemed kinda cool. But I always heard that yoga would bring you peace. And I was like, yeah, that seems good ‘cause things seem out of control. So, then I just ended up enjoying it and wanted to get trained in it. But once I went through it and decided the speech thing was just really stressing me out. And I really liked teaching yoga classes. I was just like, I’m going to do that. But I ended up learning yoga and meditation and some overall wellness coaching, not just food, but how to deal with stress and all the other parts of your overall wellbeing and all of this. I just felt really good doing it. And then when I went back into speech, I was coming at it from a different mindset almost. And when I realized how stressed out everyone else was, I was like, well, I don’t want them to feel that way. And so I started to look at true stress management and burnout. And just the more that I went into that, the more I realized all of those things I had trained to do and went through were all of the things that help this. And that’s probably why I felt ready to come back into the field. Without really realizing it, I had been doing stress management and working through it.

Lisa: (34:06) And I think part of this goes into the huge reaction from that journal or the leader post that came out about stress management and why people so harshly reacted to it that from what you’re saying, it sounds like a lot of those solutions were band aids and they weren’t getting to the true core of where the stress is coming from. So that’s probably where people, even if they didn’t have the verbiage for that, they felt that. Me going to cry in my car or taking a bubble bath is not going to solve all of my problems.

Jessi: (34:39) Exactly. There were a few things like the bubble bath or aroma therapy that are are really nice. Again, if you like those types of things, they may be soothing a little bit, but it’s not going to– it could help a little bit, but it’s not going to really go super deep. After a while it’s just not going to do–

Sarah: (35:02) Just temporary.

Lisa: (35:02) Well to me those are things that you’re checking out.

Jessi: (35:06) Yeah a little bit.

Lisa: (35:06) Versus checking in. You’re checking out and you’re not really addressing those acts of mindfulness that will help you truly feel better.

Jessi: (35:16) Yeah. So those are things on a really, really rough day you may need to just– if you were mentally exhausted once in a while, then yeah, you might just want to go chill out for a little bit before.

Lisa: (35:28) But not every day.

Jessi: (35:29) But not every day. Yeah. And then the crying in your car, I think we could admit that that happens sometimes, but it’s not really a stress management. It’s not managing your stress. It’s just preventing a panic attack usually or preventing a total stress, anxiety attack from happening. Sometimes you just have to cry. And so I wouldn’t really call that– like it’s okay if that’s what you’re doing, but that’s one of the signs that something’s not right with either the job that you’re at or that it’s time to figure out how to manage things.

Sarah: (36:10) That’s not a solution, it’s a sign.

Jessi: (36:11) Not a solution.

Lisa: (36:16) We may not be at a place where we can change jobs. So that is just not a lot of people’s reality or it is not a reality– like for me, I was the only income earner in my entire family. I’m a single parent. So I wouldn’t have had the ability to work part time hours, I needed my insurance. But what is in my control is to focus some of the, you know, if I am experiencing stress, how can I manage that better to be a more effective therapist? To be a more effective parent? To be a more effective colleague? I mean, those are things that I can focus on.

Jessi: (36:48) Yes, exactly. And then it starts to build up the same way that the kind of negative spiral built. Once you start to focus on all of those, it’s like you said, you can focus on ways to feel more connected to what you’re doing and to feel better. So when you get to work, you can focus more and you start to feel a little bit more connected to your students. So then you enjoy it more. And if you’re able to really focus while you’re doing that paperwork, there’s not as much of the mistakes that are being made ‘cause you’ve kind of checked out on it. Or having to really pull yourself over to do it when you’re not wanting to– it just kind of helps everything run a little bit more smoothly. Yes, it’s still there, but it’s not as stressful as it was before. It’s manageable.

Lisa: (37:40) Well I think of this too, I worked with our resource teacher who used to do yoga and these stress management things with her students to help get them prepped for learning. So I think it’s such a great skill that if you can incorporate it for yourself and teach this as another layer to the students that you’re working with, I mean, they are going through a lot of stressors that they’re struggling with in school and sometimes outside of school.

Jessi: (38:06) Yeah, absolutely. And a lot of– especially if you’re with little kids, they find it fun because it’s like, get up and move around or let’s do this crazy breath thing. And they find it fun. Or you could even do a craft, like glitter jars are really good for kind of meditating without meditating. They can create it and just keep tipping it up and down. And focusing on the colors they see or the shapes that it makes. So you can create all kinds of stuff around it. And then with older students, if they’re feeling stressed, they may actually want techniques to use to help them feel more comfortable or not feel as stressed, ‘cause you can talk to them about it. But yeah, so it’s stuff you can do and then you can start to bring it into the students if you want to.

Lisa: (38:55) So good.

Sarah: (38:55) It is so good.

Lisa: (38:57) I actually am sitting here thinking that I want to incorporate even something in our office where every day we start with mindfulness come into the office, because that is again, something in your control where it’s like, maybe we have a corner that you meditate for a few minutes before you engage with the rest of your colleagues. Just there are little things that I think you can just–

Sarah: (39:16) well, we’ve talked about that we both read the book Miracle Morning. We talked about this with Chris Wenger too, because he’s a big proponent of it. And it’s always one of those moments that when I’m reading a book like that and I’m in it, then I’m doing it. And then I move onto the next thing and I just throw it all out the window. But that’s what it is. It’s meditation, and words of affirmation and exercise and journal. It’s all those things you just talked about. And when I was doing it, I noticed a huge difference in my day and I’m not doing it now. And like I told you, before we got started with this, I had a rough couple of weeks and I have been majorly checked out and it is time. Yeah. It’s time for me to– I’ve got to put a lot of this back into practice.

Lisa: (39:59) I feel like you’re our counselor and we’re going to have to call you regularly.

Sarah: (40:06) I know you’ve got the podcast where you’re always sharing ways to handle stress and stress management ideas. I literally was just thinking, can you do some five to 10 minute YouTube videos where you help us practice our breathing?

Lisa: (40:24) That would be awesome.

Jessi: (40:24) That is a great idea.

Sarah: (40:26) I would love that. Cause I need somebody to talk to me.

Lisa: (40:29) and that knows my job, that knows who I am and knows my struggles. I think that would be a really cool layer to add into what you’re doing.

Sarah: (40:38) Or just like when I’m about to lose it, I just turn to Jessi Andricks on YouTube and I can just totally Zen out. I would love that.

Jessi: (40:48) Well, thank you. All of those things I’ve thought of. So it’s nice to hear that somebody actually would want that.

Lisa: (40:56) I think you’re gonna be huge.

Sarah: (40:56) And don’t think that I haven’t already been buzzing about Ooh, SLP summit. This is a topic that is so critically important. You know, we started at the beginning of this episode talking about, we need you all to stay in your jobs. Please do not quit. I mean, if you want to go have some other hobbies and like try some other things. Cool, but come back, come back, please. We just need you so so badly. I had a student message me last night who’s older now, he’s about to graduate from high school. And he messaged me and said, I don’t think I’ve ever really told you, thank you so much for what you’ve done for me in my life. And I literally texted him back and I go, well, now I’m crying. And he goes, oh, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to make you cry. And I go, no, no, they’re happy tears. You know, it was a moment where I thought, oh, this is why we do this. You know? And those moments aren’t always going to happen to be reaffirming to us on why we do what we do. And I shouldn’t need that external gratitude, but it just reminded me how important our jobs are and the impact we make in students’ lives every single day.

Jessi: (41:59) It’s so true. And a lot of times when we’re feeling like we need to leave our job, I mean, because I did. I think looking back if I had had better stress management, I wouldn’t have left. I would’ve maybe asked if I could go part time for a while or just let someone know or been able to just make that mindset shift of this isn’t forever, this is just where I am now, and there are good things. So managing the stress kind of helps you get more clarity of like, okay, do I need to switch to a different— like is this a really bad job? Because unfortunately there are just some places that are not great to work at. But then sometimes it’s or am I really stressed right now from something that could have happened at a previous job, but it’s still like been triggered. So it’s still following you to each job you go to or something at your job, but can you manage that and then figure out what to do from there better? Like maybe it is taking action to get some policies changed or maybe it’s finding a new job, or maybe it’s realizing if I manage my stress, this is okay. I actually do enjoy this again.

Lisa: (43:13) Maybe it’s tuning into Jessi Andrick’s YouTube channel. That’s coming soon.

Jessi: (43:18) I do have one with a couple of videos on there but it’s been awhile. I did like two videos.

Sarah: (43:24) I’ll post the links to your podcast, I’ll post the links to your blog and your Instagram account on this episode so that people can find you. And I know you’ve got some courses out there too that you’ve done for professional development on this topic as well, right?

Jessi: (43:40) Yes. And those are on the website and a couple more will be coming out this year. But from a few different sites, cause I know people have the sites that they like to go to for their continuing ed and then a few different approaches to the topic. And then hopefully this year, or coming soon, I hope to launch a full blown stress management online course for everybody to help. For when you need more than the little blurbs on YouTube when you need like, alright, what do we need to do?

Sarah: (44:14) I think this is so important. And when we had talked about getting ready for this episode too, I had said it couldn’t be more timely. One with the time of year, but two with that ASHA leader coming out and that caused a lot of people to have feelings. Lot of feelings. And so anyway, it was just so perfect. And I think we definitely needed somebody like you who came in with real solutions, things we can do. You know, Lisa and I like to give solutions too, but they’re usually about drinking and you didn’t offer either of those as suggestions. So I’m going to say we’re probably not the ones that should be giving advice.

Jessi: (44:51) That’s ok, that’s ok.

Sarah: (44:55) So thank you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, super excited. I hope we can collaborate on some other projects and then everybody go check Jessi out so that you can find ways to manage this stress that is real. And you are not alone and everybody’s feeling it.

Jessi: (45:12) It’s so true, and it’s true you’re not alone.

Sarah: (45:13) Thank you.

Jessi: (45:16) You’re welcome. Thank you guys.