Extinguishing Burnout and Reigniting Purpose

Interview with Melissa Wolf reveals expert input and how to light your fire.

Posted Jan 20, 2019

Melissa Wolf, used with permission
Melissa Wolf
Source: Melissa Wolf, used with permission

Burnout for teachers and other educators is rampant. For example, 15% of teachers leave the profession every year (Haynes, 2014; Seidel, 2014), and 91% of teachers have suffered from stress in the past two years (Stanley, 2014).

In the altruistic spirit for which education stakeholders are known, school psychologist Melissa Wolf has brought together 21 experts on how to extinguish physical and mental burnout by reigniting one’s purpose. Wolf’s 30-minute interviews with these experts will offer free guidance to educators through a 21-day Light Your Fire Summit beginning on February 3, 2019 (with recordings available for download).

Here Wolf gives us some highlights and strategies gleaned from the summit.

Jenny Rankin (JR): As you conducted interviews in preparation for the summit, what were some important themes you uncovered?

Melissa Wolf (MW): Themes that were uncovered included: self-care, healthy boundaries, mindfulness, resilience, emotional resourcefulness, whole food nutrition and self-empowerment

JR: What are some things educators can do to reignite purpose and fight burnout?

MW:  Everything starts from within.  Learning how to manage your mind, along with adopting healthy practices and staying consistent will help decrease the effects of stress and reignite YOUR why.  Let your purpose for going into education be the fuel to help you overcome and fight burnout. 

JR: What are some very simple or easy things that even the most overwhelmed educator can implement?

MW:  Start with creating a self-care plan.  Taking time out of each day just for you (even if it is 3-5 minutes)!  Some examples include: meditation, exercise, healthy meals, journaling, volunteer work, nature walk, and staying hydrated.  Increasing your awareness around self-care and creating your own customized plan can work wonders for the mind, body and spirit!  

JR: Thank you for your time, and for all you do to help educators.


Haynes, M. (2014, July). On the path to equity: Improving the effectiveness of beginning teachers. Alliance for Excellence. Retrieved from http://all4ed.org/reports-factsheets/path-to-equity

Stanley, J. (2014, October 13). How unsustainable workloads are destroying the quality of teaching. Schools Week. Retrieved from http://schoolsweek.co.uk/how-unsustainable-workloads-are-destroying-the-quality-of-teaching