Burnout in Out of School Hours Care (OSHC)

Burnout in Out of School Hours Care (OSHC)

It’s the start of a long weekend, we are meant to wake up happy and excited for three days off work and spending time doing things just for yourself – spending it with friends, family and basically on whatever we want to do.

This is the ‘thought’, but for how many of you reading this is this actually reality?

It should be.

But it’s not.

I know it’s not.

In an industry of educators, we are known to be caring, selfless and always giving to others (the amazing children we care for). We are terrible at saying no as we always want to help. It’s no wonder we all want to keep on ‘doing’ even when we are not at work. But at some point, it has to stop. This continuously ‘doing’ is a contributing factor to burnout.

Burnout is rampant everywhere in this day and age as we all stay so ‘connected’, but not really ‘connected’. We always feel the pressure to check emails, text from staff at all hours with ‘one little question’, complete that one extra task and heck I bet there is a fair few of you who have a list of OSHC things to do this long weekend am I right? I know I’m right (because I too would also have that big list).

  • At the shops? “Oh that would be great for the centre”.
  • Seeing a Facebook post? “Oh that would be a great activity / recipe for the centre”.
  • Out with friends / family? “Sorry I have to check on this for work”
  • Invited somewhere? “Sorry I can’t come, I have too much work to do.”

And you know how it goes, it’s a never-ending cycle with just some examples above. I said no to so many things in life, because of work.

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As an industry of educators who are caring, selfless and always giving to others we also have to make sure we stop and listen to our bodies.

I know this is easy to type now and I give all this ‘self care’ advice, but I’m terrible at it myself. I give the advice because I don’t want other educators to end up like me.

In 2016 I experienced burnout. Completely burnt out and I don’t honestly think I’ve ever recovered. I love my job, I love my centre and I love my team – so how was I so burnt out? It was something I enjoyed. For all those reasons – I loved my job, but at what point did I let my job take over my whole world? I don’t know when it happened, but it definitely happened.

In hindsight (isn’t hindsight great? Why don’t we have it in the moment?), I had Assessment & Rating (A&R) one week before my overseas wedding. So many big things in one little space. Obviously, the wedding should have been priority? But nope, as an educator of course I put A&R first (this should have been a hint, right? I still didn’t see it). We got Exceeding for the centre, which was fantastic, but I hadn’t even booked my wedding dinner venue and half the other things. My priorities were way off.

Although I experienced burnout in 2016, it wasn’t until 2017 that I realised I was ‘done’ and of all people to pick it up? It was my dentist (if you don’t do your 6 monthly check ups – highly recommend to do them, they can pick up so much, it’s crazy). If I wasn’t going for my check ups, I still don’t think I would’ve realised at the time that I was physically done.

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The dentist picked up from one check up to the next, in 6 months, that I had cracked 6 teeth. This wasn’t normal for me and she suggested it was stress related, of course my answer “Me stressed? Noooooooo, I love my job”. She sent me off for further testing and urged me to see my GP regarding my health.

In a short space of time I had developed:

  • 6 cracked teeth (irreversible).
  • Mild sleep apnoea (luckily reversible if I got a hold of my stress).
  • Migraines (again, been able to reverse them).
  • Unhealthy blood test results / stress related high levels in areas.
  • And what kind of hit me the most was a benign tumour in my leg. Yep! These things can pop up from something like stress and burnout. This isn’t going anywhere either and it’s there to stay as a reminder.
  • On another personal level, I’ve also had fertility issues with stress a big contributing factor.

Although I was burnt out in 2016 and found out a lot of the physical repercussions in 2017, I still didn’t put myself first.

Now it’s 2019, I know I’m still in the bad habit of putting work first. I am writing this as I don’t want you to become me. Learn from my mistakes.

My advice?

  • Please say no to work.
  • Be more realistic on time frames (I was always so keen to get tasks completed ASAP and please everyone).
  • Look at your amazing teams, I thought I didn’t want to burden my team with more work but instead had a fantastic team more than happy to step up – built on their strengths, give them tasks that suit their interest areas and go from there.
  • Talk to your management / approved provider, let them know you feel overworked / need more support / admin hours spread in your team, etc. Document these conversations and keep a log if no changes are made.
  • Talk to your GP or someone you trust, get health check ups (dentist, blood tests, general health checks). They can tell a lot from some simple tests.
  • Put your loved ones first. I’m so lucky to have a VERY patient husband who never complained once through my obsessed work times (I was still work obsessed even just two weeks ago, again it’s a process – I’m still learning).
  • Remember work isn’t everything. Life is.

Now go enjoy this long weekend! If any of the above resonates with you? Start making positive changes to balance your own world from your work life. Look after yourselves.

I Co-Founded Firefly HR as I am passionate about OSHC and quality of care provided to children, but also want to help educators at the same time. To view more content like this visit our webpage at https://fireflyhr.com.au/ or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fireflyhrOSHC/.

Now go enjoy this long weekend! If any of the above resonates with you? Start making positive changes to balance your own world from your work life. Look after yourselves.

https://me.me/i/you-are-entirely-up-to-you-you-are-entirely-up-3799486

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