May 14, 2021 | Volume 2, Number 3
Addressing Compassion Fatigue and Burnout by
Resting and Restoring this Summer
By Dana Asby, CEI Director of Innovation & Research Support

As the end of one of the most difficult school years many have faced in decades is in sight, educators and parents are looking forward to the summer and the next transition. The feeling of burnout is nearly universal, no matter if your days have been spent hopping from one virtual meeting to the next, providing doses of the vaccine to community members, or juggling hybrid learning environments as a student, parent, or teacher. It has been a tough year and we are all exhausted! We all need to rest, restore, recover, and truly reset. To address our collective sense of burnout and compassion fatigue, our leaders are faced with rebuilding our systems to better serve families, especially in the wake of the trauma that COVID-19 has disproportionately caused.
News You Can Use
By Apara Suresh, CEI Intern

Teachers don’t ever stop being teachers. From September to June, they face an array of stressors from both an institutional angle (increasing class sizes, shrinking budgets, changing curriculums) and students and their families. In classrooms with students who have experienced trauma, educators are likely experiencing compassion fatigue. Left unaddressed, these stressors can lead to burnout, “causing educators—often the ones who care the most—to leave the field or experience ongoing health issues as a result” (Sims, 2021). Luckily, summer break offers a much-needed and necessary time to hit pause, rest, and restore. We’ve compiled a list of mindfulness practices to help you have a restorative summer break.

According to Dr. Pamela Mason, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, summer offers a “chance to think about what your personal goals were at the beginning of the school year and to take stock of where you are in them now. What were the successes, and what contributed to those successes? What are the remaining challenges—and why are they still challenges?” (Walsh, 2018).

By Jackson Sims, CEI Intern

There’s only so much time in the day, so it can be tempting to stay up late when we don’t get to do everything we had hoped. For some people, a few hours of sleep is a necessary sacrifice to catch up on unfinished work; for others, missed sleeping time is spent engaging in leisure activities or enjoyable hobbies, a phenomenon loosely described as “sleep procrastination” (Magalhaes et al., 2020).

You might enjoy taking the time for self-care activities in the evening, but the truth is that healthy sleep is one of the most compassionate actions you can take for yourself. Proper sleep isn’t just about how long you spend sleeping, though. A full eight hours of sleep means little if it is frequently interrupted or lacking in quality. While the occasional “rough night” might not seem to be an issue, the effects of insufficient or low-quality sleep can add up over time, contributing to a more significant sleep deprivation problem. What sort of effects can we recognize or anticipate from missed sleep, and how can we take action to ensure our sleep is adequate?

By Dana Asby, CEI Director of Innovation & Research Support

A lesson that COVID-19 has reinforced for many school communities this year is that to overcome difficulties, we must work together to support each other. The trauma of this global pandemic has affected each of us in different ways, at different times, but having trusted colleagues in the fight alongside us has made shouldering the burdens of this challenge a little easier. Kristen Levesque and Dwayne Conway, Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative (C-TLC) Fellows and administrators in the Maranacook, Maine community, have demonstrated the power of working better together to lift up the staff, students, and families in their school communities.
Learn more about the amazing work our Fellows have been doing through the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative and in their school communities in our
Events and Resources
Access and share C-TLC resources:

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 26 @ 3:00 p.m.
Location: Online
Join us for a conversation about wellness in Latinx families. Learn tips and strategies to keep your stress from taking over and how to give these tools to our family members, and join in conversation with other Latinx families. Register here.

Date/Time: Wednesday, June 16 @ 4:00 p.m.
Location: Online
Join us for this interactive webinar. You will not only learn about actions to take to weave evidence-based self-care practices into your daily routines; you'll practice them, too!

Stay posted to our Events page for updates and announcements.
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Healthcare workers & Educators Addressing and Reducing Trauma
The Healthcare workers & Educators Addressing and Reducing Trauma (HEART) Collective is a New England regional effort designed to help school communities and community healthcare centers collaborate intentionally and concretely around best practices that enhance and improve youth mental health supports.

This regional initiative is a collaboration with:

  • The SAMHSA Region 1 Office
  • The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Regional Operations (Region 1),
  • The New England MHTTC, and
  • New England FQHCs and school community stakeholders.

Our goal is to map, document, and analyze processes, resources, and strategies that advance youth mental health supports by establishing and strengthening collaborations between schools/districts and community health centers.
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.~ Anne Lamont

As you prepare for the summer break, think about the advice you are giving your students and colleagues. It may look like this advice we’ve heard from educators through the C-TLC: Take a break. Make sure you’re taking good care of your health. Have fun and connect with your friends. Laugh and play and don’t even think about school for a bit. How can you ensure that you apply that advice to your own life? 

Here’s an addition to those words of encouragement that we offer you right now: You did a great job and you did enough. You saved lives this year. You connected with kids who needed you. You’ve made a difference. We appreciate you. We know you’re exhausted, so please take care of yourself. Thank you.

Best wishes for rest, joy, and peace.