Rundown. Worried. Confused. Sad. Chaotic. Insecure. Sickly. Preoccupied. Angry. Surviving. Alone.
These are just a handful of the words Julie Lafleur used in her session on mentoring circles and how to survive and prevent burnout. Burnout is "the physical and/or mental collapse caused by overwork, stress, and disproportionate amount of demand vs. resources."
At the beginning of her session, Julie stated, "I felt like I was running on a treadmill, but I was getting nowhere." This metaphor described the happiness Julie showed on the outside, but how unfulfilled she felt on the inside. As the event coordinator, it was surprising, yet encouraging to hear such a poised, upbeat woman talk about such painful struggles.
Because Julie was willing to speak up, step up, and stand up to share her journey, others now had an example of what many women around the world are going through and how they can cope with and prevent burnout. One mechanism Julie shared to help other women go from surviving to thriving was WIT Wellness Mentoring Circles, a form of group mentoring that encourages participants from all levels of an organization to propose and own a topic of interest. The circles can be done anywhere and typically have one leader to guide the group. At the conference, attendees practiced these circles.
Julie also put a significant emphasis on taking care of your body, mind, and soul to help survive burnout. She provided many ways to get back to the basics and start mending.