After the Webinar: Burnout and Resilience. Q&A with Katharine Manning

Webinar presenter Katharine Manning answered a number of your questions after her webinar. Burnout and Resilience: What Criminal Justice Professionals Need to Know. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: How do you take a break without others thinking you’re not working hard enough? 

Katharine Manning: That’s a great question And I think that for a lot of us, we struggle with that with, I can’t take a break because what will others think of me? This is another area where I really feel like people are responding to our own feelings about it. If I feel guilty about taking a break, other people are going to say, “Well, that person is always taking a break. She must be like, just shirking off responsibilities.” If instead I am completely unapologetic, like if I say to you, “Oh yeah, I’m not coming in on Friday. I got to recharge and take a mental health day, so I won’t be in on Friday, but let’s set that meeting for Monday.” The response that I get from that is very different from the response of, “Gosh, you know, I don’t really want to tell people this because I feel so like embarrassed and like, I’m being selfish about it. But, you know, I’m just going to quietly put my out of office on Friday and like hope that nobody catches me.” That response like, you’re kind of getting back the response based on the energy that you’re putting out, this has been my experience. When I am more unapologetic about it, people seem to say like, “Oh, I guess she’s right that is completely appropriate.” And then the other thing that you’re doing with that is you’re modeling that it’s okay to take a break. Sometimes the, the reaction you get is based on their own, issues, like they feel like they’re not allowed to take breaks. So, if you can create the kind of work environment where it is okay to take a break by saying, “Hey, we all have to take breaks sometimes, and that’s why I turn off my phone at 7 PM or 5 PM,” or whatever it is you’re doing. You’re modeling that self-care is appropriate. So, I hope that helps a little bit. I do find that it is so much easier when we are just forthright and unapologetic about taking this breaks. It helps us both in that individual interaction and also in creating the kind of work culture, where taking breaks is celebrated, we should be taking breaks, we can’t keep doing this work if we don’t take the breaks that we need to recharge.


Audience Question: Working in law enforcement, breaks are not that easy. Any suggestions?

Katharine Manning: Yeah, absolutely, I completely get that. There are some jobs, where you just don’t have the ability to say, “You know what, I’m going to take 20 minutes to myself right now.” In those kinds of roles, it’s important that you take like little micro breaks. So, that breathing exercise that we just talked about, so inhale for four, hold for seven, exhale for eight, that’s something you can do while you’re driving around. And again, remember that it helps increase your brain function. So, just doing that a few times during the day can really, really help you stay a little bit calmer and more present. It gives you better response in the moment and helps you just kind of stay even keeled throughout the day. You know, in addition, just that daily reset, I remember talking once with a woman who’s a child forensic interviewer for the FBI and, and they’re folks who at any moment, can be called upon to, like have to be on a plane within an hour. She was like, you know, “I don’t even know where I’m going to be sleeping tonight, but one thing that I do every day is when I wake up in the morning, wherever I am, I put my feet on the floor and I say, thank you for this day, and I just have this moment of gratitude for where I am.” So, it can be short like that, you know, just a quick moment of gratitude, giving yourself a second to look around, and say, like, “Gosh, it’s a really beautiful day out. I didn’t even realize that.” Or “Wait, I think I think I hear music, is there a festival going on.” Those little moments, this little micro moments can really make a difference, even when you don’t have time to do something like a 20 minute break.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Burnout and Resilience: What Criminal Justice Professionals Need to Know.  


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