The Lincoln Center: Getting back to your passions after burnout

Woman hiker looks at the mountain scenery
Image via The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth.

Let’s talk about burnout. Burnout is when our emotional, physical, and mental state is exhausted due to prolonged stress

Some signs of burnout are frequent illness, feeling drained, a sense of failure, lack of motivation, and withdrawal from activities and responsibilities.

You might think “oh just take a rest day and you’ll be fine.” However, there is a lot more to it than a single day of rest and self-care. 

It is about recognizing and reversing what has been creating this intense level of prolonged stress that leads to burnout. You can like your job, which at some points may not even feel like “work”, but if you ignore all the signs of burnout, it can lead to you not enjoying what you once did.

I am an Art Therapist at The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth, and I work with individuals who have experienced trauma or have been victims of crime.

Art therapy allows individuals to explore their inner-self in a creative way, and when words are not enough, they can turn to their art. My profession allows me to experience many stories, and I strive to provide a new sense of hope through art.

I love what I do; yet, I recognized I was on the possible path to burnout, which is common for people in my field. With the support of TLC, I listened to my body and took rest days; however, it is easier said than done.

Hiking is a therapeutic experience for me so I booked a trip to Utah and hiked Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus is a 7.8 mile up high trail with an elevation gain of 4,156 ft. This hike is challenging, takes about five and half hours to complete, and requires lots of preparation.

When starting this trail, I knew what I was in for, but I was determined to succeed. Ultimately, I wanted to complete this hike to prove to myself that I am more than capable of beating my mental and physical burnout.

After many breaks, thoughts of “just turn around” and running low on water I finally reached the top. The view over Salt Lake City was breathtaking, but the feeling of achievement was unforgettable. If I can do this, I can change my life to serve me in the way I need.

For me, a mental break meant booking a trip for an adventurous mountainous hike; however, we are all different and there are a variety of ways to prevent and treat burnout. Challenge yourself in a new way that is rewarding to you and that can provide a new sense of self-awareness of what you need in your life.

Reframe the way you look at your work, prioritize what is important to your well-being and turn to your created support system. Burnout is an everyday thing that can impact us from living the life we truly want, but by taking time to step back, reframe our lives, and breathe, we can change that.

About the Author

Jacqueline Scheffler is a Mobile Art Therapist at The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth (TLC).  She operates in TLC’s crime victim services program – Heather’s Hope: A Center for Victims of Crime.  Heather’s Hope provides free counseling and case management services to children and adults living in Montgomery County who have been affected by crime in the past or present, whether the crime went reported or unreported.

About TLC

The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth (TLC) is a social enterprise company serving the Greater Philadelphia Area. Founded in 1970 by a behavioral health hospital, TLC is an entrepreneurial nonprofit providing innovative education, coaching, and counseling services to individuals and families, as well as grant writing and management services for school districts and universities.

Find out more about The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth.

Here’s advice regarding burnout from a 2019 video of the Today Show.