The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast Full Transcript
Mattie Murrey 00:04
Breathe in, breathe out. Try to ground yourself and not be too stressed at work. Is this a problem for you sometimes? Me too! Stress! That's why I've asked Jessi Andricks on today. She is many things to do with SLP stress management, and she's just going to be an incredible resource for us today. We're going to be talking about stress management, and mindfulness, and journaling, and grounding, and burnout, and all of these things.
Jessi Andricks has her own podcast called the SLP Stress Management Podcast. So, happy she's coming on as a guest here. She speaks on the national level, and local levels, at conventions, about stress management and burnout. Really, really happy to have her here today. If you want more information, go check her out in our show notes, and follow her links, and go find her courses. She's quite the resource. Lots of offerings. So, welcoming Jessi Andricks to our podcast today.
Welcome to The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast. Have you ever wished you could go back and tell your younger self a way to do something better, or something that you’ve learned, or, gosh, just those words of wisdom that you would have loved to have known when you first started? That's what this series is all about. I am interviewing guests, and we reflect back on their words of wisdom, and what they didn't learn in grad school. And you'll be surprised by each one of these episodes. So, sit back, listen, and enjoy.
Welcome, Jessi! Jessi Andricks, welcome to the Missing Link for SLPs Podcasts. So glad you're here!
Jessi Andricks 01:53
Thank you. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me on.
Mattie Murrey 01:57
Tell us -- I know a little bit about you. I follow you. I subscribe to your newsletter. I love your website. And you first rose on the scene for me and came on my radar a couple of years ago when COVID hit. Tell us who you are, and what you do, and why you do what you do.
Jessi Andricks 02:13
Okay. So, I'm Jessi Andricks. I am an SLP – for many years now. It seems like yesterday, but I graduated in 2008. So, that’s like – this is over a decade ago, and then some, which is so hard to believe. But I'm also a yoga teacher, and mindfulness teacher, and integrative health coach, and I kind of put all that together into focusing on stress management and preventing burnout. And the reason is because I have experienced that …
Mattie Murrey 02:48
Jessi Andricks 02:48
… well before the pandemic, in like my third year of being an SLP – to the point that I just figured I had completely chosen the wrong career. Like I have an under – my undergraduate is communication sciences and disorders, my graduate degree. And so, I was kind of like, wow, I just spent six years doing the wrong thing, and then three years of working in the wrong field – in a lot of different settings too, but the stress was always there.
Mattie Murrey 03:19
Jessi Andricks 03:19
And I was feeling like if I am this stressed, and it's starting to leak out of work, and leak into like life outside of work, and I don't feel any balance here, that this just must be the wrong thing, and I'm just, you know – my passion for it is gone. I should probably do something else. And so, I – funnily enough, I quit to teach yoga, like full time. There was a studio opening up, and I was going to teach, like all the time, it felt like, and I was going to be the assistant director of it. So, it felt like, okay, this is like an actual – leaving a career for a career type of a thing. And that was the worst and most stressful job I have ever had in my entire life!
Mattie Murrey 04:04
Jessi Andricks 04:04
Yeah, right? Like you wouldn’t think -
Mattie Murrey 04:05
You wouldn’t think so!
Jessi Andricks 04:11
Mattie Murrey 04:07
No, yoga, zen! [crosstalk]
Jessi Andricks 04:10
Right. So, it turns out not everyone in the yoga world is either! But also, if you don't know how to manage stress, it can follow you from job to job.
Mattie Murrey 04:24
Jessi Andricks 04:25
And it's not always the – I mean, sometimes, and in this situation, it was definitely some work setting, some toxic environment. Which, again, you wouldn't think from yoga. And I know that can happen in the speech world too.
Mattie Murrey 04:36
Oh, it happens everywhere.
Jessi Andricks 04:36
Mattie Murrey 04:37
Wherever you go, there you are.
Jessi Andricks 04:39
Right. And then sometimes it's also that the stress follows you because it's still with you, right?
Mattie Murrey 04:45
Jessi Andricks 04:45
It’s still like in your body, and we'll talk about that a little bit too in a bit.
But yeah, so I left for a few years, and I did find some nice places to teach yoga with some wonderful people. And I learned a lot about my own stress. I learned a lot about how to help people with that. And just some of the things that we're all working through each day, and what stress really is. And some good ways, some like science behind yoga and meditation…
Mattie Murrey 05:16
Jessi Andricks 05:16
… and like why it actually works, and what it's doing. And so, I went all-in on that. And then after a few years the owner of the studio I worked at was moving, and I was about to have my first child. And so, it was like do you want to take over, open your own studio, and take over all this stuff? And I was like, well, that would be a dream.
Mattie Murrey 05:38
Jessi Andricks 05:38
I do not want to do that with a newborn, because …
Mattie Murrey 05:42
Jessi Andricks 05:42
… I know a lot about stress, and that sounds really stressful! So, I was like, you know what, honestly, I just want something stable.
So, I decided to come back into speech therapy. I was like things have changed. Teletherapy is a thing. Where I live, there wasn't a lot of opportunities unless you wanted to work in a school district, and I knew I didn't want to do that at that time. And I think I'll try something else. I could do part time, PRN. And so, I jumped back into the field. I got like a few hours starting in teletherapy, and everything seemed really good. And then I realized I had no resources. Like I didn't know – I had no materials, right? Like I had been out of the field for almost five years…
Mattie Murrey 06:24
Jessi Andricks 06:25
… and I never worked in teletherapy. So, it was like what am I going to use with my students? So, it's like, well, Facebook groups are a really cool thing now. They also weren't there when I left. And so, I joined like – I mean, there are so many speech based. I joined like all of them that I could find. And I joined them to look for – does anyone have any cool websites that would help with teletherapy, or any fun activities? And I definitely got help, because we are helpful to each other when we need to be.
But I also noticed that what most people were posting about was how stressed they were, and how burnt out they were feeling, and how they just didn't know if they could stay in the field anymore. But they also couldn't afford to leave, because they had student loans to pay for, and bills, and they've spent all this time.
Mattie Murrey 07:18
Jessie Andricks 07:19
And I just sat there and thought, these are like – I mean, these are groups with thousands of people in them, and the majority of people are posting about this – and this was well before the pandemic. And I had been there, and I did quit, and it was not easy, and it didn't feel good to leave after putting in all that effort. Even though it was like exciting to teach yoga, it didn't feel good to give up, and to leave, and to feel like I had failed, or whatever it might have been. And I didn't want anybody else to feel that way, or to stay stuck, where they felt just stuck.
So, I started putting together from my experiences, but also from all of the training and all of the things that I had been teaching and learning, and put together this SLP stress management and resilience, and this website and courses and things to help people that just are feeling stuck.
And then the pandemic hit! Right? And we were feeling this way before because of our paperwork, and our productivity, and caseloads and workloads. And then the pandemic just heightened all of that, and like made all of that so much harder. And we're still – we're still in a lot of that.
Mattie Murrey 08:43
Jessi Andricks 08:43
Even as like we talked about before we started, like hopefully, we're starting to see the other side of that. But it's still – we had to be in survival mode, when we were already kind of in survival mode to begin with. We kind of – we had to like go into it even more. And so, it has been really stressful.
But yeah, taking everything that I've learned and just trying to share it in any way, and like the – we all like to learn in different ways, and get our information in different ways. So, trying to share it in any way that I can is what I've been focusing on for the last few years. So, that’s the long story!
Mattie Murrey 09:24
And I think you’ve done very well with it.
Jessi Andricks 09:26
Well, thank you.
Mattie Murrey 09:28
So, questions for you.
Jessi Andricks 9:30
Mattie Murrey 09:31
So, a little behind the scenes. I have a colleague you – that we talk about you and your stress management, because she and I talk about stress management at our state level and stuff like that.
Jessi Andricks 09:41
Mattie Murrey 9:42
Why does stress happen so much, and so easily?
Jessi Andricks 09:47
Yeah. So, as SLPs, like it really feels – and I know that most people feel this in their work, but it feels like we are very vulnerable to stress, that it hits us really hard, more than it might – or I remember like when I was feeling really stressed, I didn’t have a lot of SLP friends, or a lot of people in the area. So, I would try to explain how stressed I was to someone, and they just were like, “Okay, that doesn't sound that bad”. Or kind of like – and it wasn't because they were trying to be rude, but it was just like they didn't get it.
Mattie Murrey 10:22
Jessi Andricks 10:22
It was like, “Why? All right. So …
Mattie Murrey 10:24
We play with kids.
Jessi Andricks 10:24
… you have a lot of paperwork”. Yeah. Like work starts early. That's not a – it’s just kind of things that it was like “No, there's just so much!”
Mattie Murrey 10:33
Jessi Andricks 10:34
“And it's very draining, and…”
Mattie Murrey 10:36
Jessi Andricks 10:36
But what's – when we think of stress, we think of it as like, oh, these things are stressful. These things are stressing me out. And it could be like our schedule, or the amount of work that we have, or when we're like there's – I don't have enough resources, I don't have enough time, how am I going to get all this done? And those are not the actual stress itself. Those are the triggers of stress. And those are the things that trigger a response in our brain, and that itself is the stress.
So, this stress response triggers our brain to do some things that originally were really, really helpful because the stress we faced when our brain was developing was like there is a tiger, or a bear, or something that is about to attack and eat me, and I need to know what to do about this stressful situation. And now, it's like there's an email coming in from my boss, and it's stressful, and I need to know what to do about the situation. And our brain has the same response to it, and it's like, well, that's not really – those are not exactly equal situations that we're in!
Mattie Murrey 11:51
Jessi Andricks 11:51
So, but what our brain does is it fires up those automatic responses, the amygdala, our fight-flight-freeze response. It fires that up when we're faced with some stress triggers. And the more that there are, the more that that gets turned on without having a chance to like process, and turn back down. And the more it gets turned on, like the more that this response is fired up, the more that it stays fired up, and like it's excited about it, and it's like, cool stress is here! I'm on board! Like let’s sound the alarm, let's keep looking for more.
And so, this response is happening, and then this response also is like I have got this rest of your brain that can problem solve and do things, you just turn yourself off, and I'm going to handle the situation. So, like our frontal lobe. Like all of these areas that we process, we have executive functioning areas of our brain that help us to learn, and recall information, and to create like very deep memories about things, like all of that is turned down.
Mattie Murrey 13:01
Jessie Andricks 13:01
And sometimes even, like our hippocampus actually shrinks in size when our amygdala fires up, and we're stressed. So, it's like it was helpful at one time, but since now we have so many like non life-threatening things that we are stressed about. And sometimes in the last few years things have been, at times for some people, more life-threatening, but most of the time in our work, it is still like those non life-threatening things that we're dealing with. Our brain does not differentiate.
So, once that response is triggered, it just keeps looking for more, and we have a lot of things that our brain can find that are stressful, right? It's like one after the other. And so, that's why we get stuck. And the more that our brain sees it, the more it's going to look out for it because it's trying to protect us, but it's backfiring because it's not protecting us at all. It's just making us feel more stressed.
So, our brain is really good at looking at things that are going to trigger stress, and then sending this response through the brain and down into the body, and keeping us in this state of being really, really stressed. So, it's kind of a good thing. It’s like stress – I mean, well, that whole situation is not fun, right? But the good thing about it is like it's not your fault. It's just the way that our brains are wired. So, we start to think like, “Oh, I'm just terrible, or something's wrong with me. I failed. I can't do this”. And it's not us. It's just like as humans, this is how our brain works. It's how it's developed, and it's trying to protect us, and it's trying to keep us safe, but it's just not working in our world anymore.
So, yeah. So, stress is just this response to the triggers of all this -
Mattie Murrey 14:47
It’s not a character flaw. [crosstalk]
Jessi Andricks 14:48
No. It’s not a character flaw. Yeah. It's not anything that is your fault, that you're doing wrong. And if you have had – we all have different life circumstances.
Mattie Murrey 14:58
Jessi Andricks 14:58
So, it could be that either you sit there and you're wondering like, “Well, why are they handling it well?” Well, they may not be handling it. They may be really stressed out and just hiding it. Because it's one of those things that we're talking about more now, but for a while we felt like we kind of had to hide it if we were not doing well…
Mattie Murrey 15:15
Jessi Andricks 15:15
… or feeling well mentally, or whatever it might be. But then also, like if you're given two people and you give them the same stress trigger, one may have had some tools that they've used to help manage stress. But also, they may not have had other things that have already triggered their stress. Like it might be their first trigger of the day, but it could be your like, fifth or hundredth thing that has been stressful in your day.
Mattie Murrey 15:40
Jessi Andricks 15:40
So, that's why it’s kind of like we can't just compare ourselves, and say like, ”They have the same amount of paperwork, or same caseload, and they're not stressed, and I'm so stressed that something must be wrong with me”.
Mattie Murrey 15:52
Jessi Andricks 15:53
It's just our brain. It's just what's happening. And it is just the response that's built in.
Mattie Murrey 15:58
So, when I get stressed, I'm like, “Okay, I can think my way through this. I can overcome this”.
What is the difference between avoiding stress and managing stress?
Jessi Andricks 16:09
Yeah. So, there is a big difference, and we do try to avoid …
Mattie Murrey 16:17
Jessi Andricks 16:17
… but we'll manage it, right? And because it's like, “Well, I don't want to be around it”.
Mattie Murrey 16:22
Jessi Andricks 16:23
So, the family will say …
Mattie Murrey 16:23
Can we avoid it? Can you avoid?
Jessi Andricks 16:24
No. So, we can’t. We can't completely …
Mattie Murrey 16:26
Jessi Andricks 16:26
… ever, and we wouldn't want to.
Mattie Murrey 16:28
I didn’t think so, but.
Jessi Andricks 16:29
I mean, there are times when like a little stress, a little pressure is good, right?
Mattie Murrey 16:34
Jessi Andricks 16:34
Like it's going to help us. But it's when – like sometimes you have little things that are annoying, that are stressful for like five minutes. Or you're like, “Oh, I don't want to write this email”, but it takes two minutes, you write it, you're done, and your brain is over it, right? Like it processes it. It's done because it's had time to process it. And then sometimes there are those things that we just like we do, like the good stress that like helps us to get that report in on time, or helps us to finish something where it's like, we need that little extra motivation.
Mattie Murrey 17:08
Jessi Andricks 17:08
And that's when stress can be kind of good.
Mattie Murrey 17:10
Jessi Andricks 17:10
And again, it's – with that, you usually have time to like let go after, and it's like, “Okay. I'm not going to dwell on thinking about this, or this isn't going to linger with me”. It's “I used the stress for how I needed it, and now we’ve moved on.
Mattie Murrey 17:24
Jessi Andricks 17:24
But we try to – when we know that like it's like, “Okay, work is really stressful, life is off balance”, we tend to try to like avoid the stress, and find situations where we can do things so that the stress won't happen. So, we do things that sound good, and are needed, but we overdo it.
And I think as SLPs, we are really, really good at this. But we organize, we plan and we prep – which we need to do, right? Like we have to know who we're seeing. We've got to know where things are so we can grab materials we need, and then it's good to maybe have an idea of how they work, and to have a plan of action. But we micromanage that. We go like all-in, and then go in even further with it. Because we think like, “Okay, if I can plan the session perfectly and have everything I need, and prep everything I need, and then organize it just a little bit better, nothing unpleasant or bad could possibly happen”.
Mattie Murrey 18:24
Jessi Andricks 18:25
But we work with humans.
Mattie Murrey 18:27
Jessi Andricks 18:27
And we are human. And so, it doesn't leave a lot of room for, “Okay, this is everything, and this is how things are going to be, and I've got this all done”. And then you have a student that comes in that didn't sleep well last night…
Mattie Murrey 18:40
Jessi Andricks 18:40
… and is just feeling very emotional, or they are not at all interested in the activity that is planned. And it would do better if we had – like all of those things that we can't plan for any of that.
And so, we try and try and try, and like control the stress, but it's only going to create more stress. Because, think, if you put all that effort into like making everything exactly perfect, and then it doesn't go perfectly, you’ll feel really stressed. We feel really – like again, we get into that, “Like I failed. I must have done something wrong. This isn't good enough. I've got to plan and prep and organize and do these things even better next time”.
Mattie Murrey 19:20
Jessi Andricks 19:20
And so, we're always pushing, and not taking time to pause, to – we're kind of just like going and going and going, and that's going to build up more stress. It's going to make us feel more frazzled and scattered, and like constantly doing. And if you think of like a candle, or something in a flame that is like growing, right, or fire. It's going to build, it's going to build, it's going to build, until it gets to the point that it's like so big that sometimes the only thing that can happen is for everything to extinguish, right? Like there's no more wood to keep this fire burning. There's no more wick in the candle. That's where we end up in burnout.
Mattie Murrey 20:00
Jessi Andricks 20:00
So, we do these things to try and avoid the stress, and we end up trying to like micromanage and control it, and it just ends up making us more stressed and more burnt out.
So, when we really manage it, we're not avoiding it. We're saying there is stress. It's going to happen. How can I be aware of it? How can I be more aware of how I'm going to show up when the stress happens? Or how I'm doing in this day? And like not in a way to say, okay, I'm feeling really good, and so I'm going to avoid all the stress today. But to just see how you're doing, and what's showing up, and find ways to manage the stress by working through it, and living with it, and not controlling it and making sure it never ever happens. So, it's a big difference. And we tend to go about it in the avoiding, controlling, micromanaging, instead of the actual managing and living through the stress.
Mattie Murrey 21:06
Jessi Andricks 21:06
Because living through it sounds scary. Or it sounds like that sounds stressful. But it really – the other creates more stress. So, it's almost like doing the opposite of what we feel we should be doing.
Mattie Murrey 21:18
So, a lot of your work on your website has to do with mindsets, and establishing a healthy mindset to manage stress. Is that one of the tools you would recommend?
Jessi Andricks 21:30
Yeah. So, when we look at managing stress it is about looking at our mindset, and using mindfulness with it. And instead of having this mindset of “I need to do better, I need to keep going and pushing more, and this isn't enough”, having more of the “Okay, this did not go well. Or this was not what I planned”, and not looking at it as a failure or as something was wrong, but maybe saying, “Okay, that happened. It's not going to change, but I could do it different next time. Or what can I learn about that?”. And “What can I learn” is a really big helpful thing for us to start to shift. It brings us into a growth mindset, which keeps us growing. It keeps us moving. And, I mean, our field itself is constantly changing. And so, if we keep a growth mindset with that then it helps us to go along with those shifts …
Mattie Murrey 22:28
Jessie Murrey 22:28
… a little bit more easily too, and that's super important for us.
But then mindfulness itself is having that – the time to really see how we're doing. Because when we start to try and control and avoid our stress, or when we're like I don't want to be stressed, so I'm going to do everything I can to not be, we start to kind of lose touch with ourselves because we are not necessarily taking time to like pause, or reflect, or see what we really need. We're just stressing about the stress that's around us.
So, mindfulness can be a really big tool, and it's one of the big tools of stress management that helps you to not only manage the stress, but then to not be affected as deeply, to build resilience to it by changing the way that your brain is going to respond to those triggers, and by helping your brain shift out of that mode of always – once this stress is triggered, it helps you shift out of that mode of like, okay, stress is around me, I'm going to look for more, I'm going to keep protecting myself. It helps you to like pull out of that a little bit, and then it does some things that help your brain rewire and turn down that stress response, and not get triggered so easily. And that is what's really going to help you, rather than the pushing, pushing, pushing to avoid stress.
Mattie Murrey 23:54
Mhm. An analogy I love to use is the green light, yellow light, red light.
Jessi Andricks 23:58
Mattie Murrey 23:58
So, green light means, “okay, I'm good to go”. And then when you have the stress emerge, you see the yellow. It’s going to change to yellow. And then, of course, then you have the full blown out stress. “I don't like my job. I'm burned out”, and that’s your red.
And the trick, or the skill, I should say, because it's not really a trick. The skill – and sometimes when we have these triggers, like you were talking about earlier, it really makes that yellow light super small.
Jessi Andricks 24:29
Mattie Murrey 24:30
So, we're green, green, green. And then all of a sudden, we're red. And it's how can we use these tools that you're talking about so we don't go from the green to the red overnight, and go from crisis to non crisis, black to white. And so, get away from the polar thinking, and into the “I can manage this and I can do this and these are the tools, the mindset, the courses I'm going to take”.
You have a monthly course on – you also have a downloadable meditation that you're going to share with us on our show notes page – but you have the Resilient SLP Monthly Workshop series. People can come and help keep their light in the green, and maybe yellow area …
Jessi Andricks 25:12
Mattie Murrey 25:12
… because like you said, stress is normal. It’s part of life. And if we're not living, then maybe we won't have stress, but as long as we're living and engaging, stress is a part of it, and managing that. So, [crosstalk].
Jessi Andricks 25:26
Yeah. I love that. I love that.
And I mean, just about it, like if you were driving, and you didn't have the yellow anymore, and you went from green to red, you’d just crash, right? Everyone would crash.
Mattie Murrey 25:37
Jessi Andricks 25:27
Because it would be suddenly happening, you’d just crash!
Mattie Murrey 25:41
In an intersection, and it’s bad!
Jessi Andricks 24:42
Right. And that's how it feels when you don't have that yellow moment in life. You’re green, you’re red, you just feel like you crashed, and everything is just broken now.
Mattie Murrey 25:51
Jessi Andricks 24:52
Yeah. And so, using the tools of mindfulness, it doesn't mean necessarily that you won't ever go to red, but you know maybe a little bit more. Like, “Okay, this is where I'm going, and I'm not sure I can stop it, but I know that it's going to happen”.
Mattie Murrey 26:06
Jessi Andricks 26:07
And just having awareness of it …
Mattie Murrey 26:09
Jessi Andricks 26:09
… could help you not be in it as long, and so to pull back, or sometimes to prevent it from even happening…
Mattie Murrey 26:15
Jessi Andricks 26:15
... and having those moments of mindfulness. Yeah, I like that analogy a lot. That’s a good one!
Mattie Murrey 26:20
It’s one of my favorites. You and I, we complement each other really well in the circles that we move in with your coaching, and my coaching, and all of that.
Jessi Andricks 26:31
Mattie Murrey 26:31
I enjoy, like you enjoy, just making a difference in our field, and at the level where we're at, this is with SLPs who are feeling burned out. That's your niche, feeling burned out.
Jessi Andricks 26:43
Mattie Murrey 26:43
So, I have a lot of people who, when I said I'm interviewing Jessi, they were like, “Yay! Ask her these questions!” And so, these are the things that I have beside me that I wanted to bring in. So, we've got just a few minutes left, and I have a few questions.
So, we have an accident in the middle of the intersection because we went from green to red, and now we have to be resilient. Something's happened in our careers, and we've got to bounce back. Any comments and thoughts about being resilient and why that is so important?
Jessi Andricks 27:17
Yeah. Resilience is really key, and it goes along really well with managing stress. But it also helps to take you out of – I think managing is kind of in the middle, and you can take it into micromanaging, or you can take it into resilience. And so, it helps you when you have resilience. It helps you to like not fall into that trying to control the stress.
Mattie Murrey 27:42
Jessi Andricks 27:42
And resilience is that bouncing back.
Mattie Murrey 27:45
Jessi Andricks 27:45
It's the ability to have the stress be there around you, like the triggers of stress to be there around you, and to either not have them affect you as deeply. So, if you could think like maybe before you may have had a time where something would have really taken you out for a while. It would have made you feel completely burnt out , or would have made you feel really stressed for a long time. But maybe that same thing, you'd be able to process through and work through faster.
Mattie Murrey 28:16
Jessi Andricks 28:17
Or it just – you can come out of it quicker. You know like “Okay, I'm feeling stressed. I know I have some tools I can use. I have some things I can do to help me come out of this”.
And I've been there. Like I don't know for sure that I was in burnout because I never went and got – I mean, I don't think a diagnosis of burnout was a thing at the time, but I never went and said – or had someone say “Yes, you are experiencing burnout”. But I know it was chronic stress, and it was most likely burnout…
Mattie Murrey 28:47
Jessi Andricks 28:47
… from all of the kind of definitions of it. And it doesn't mean that I've ever experienced something like that again, or felt that I was heading that way again. But when I am starting to feel that way, or in the past when I have started to feel that way, I've been able to notice it, and say, “Oh my gosh. I know what this is, and I know where it's going”.
Mattie Murrey 29:09
Jessi Andricks 29:09
Or I've been able to say, “You know, I stopped doing some things that were really helpful”. Like there was one time I realized like I'd taken on a lot more hours than the previous year in teletherapy, and I was sitting a lot during the day, and it was like I didn't have a lot of breaks in my schedule because I thought that would be a good idea and it was not. And I realized like my selfcare practice of getting up and moving during the day, of like getting and going on a walk, or just stretching, or whatever it might be, I wasn't doing. And that was kind of my like, “Okay. I know now like my resilience, that that was I know what I'm not doing anymore. I realized what I've stopped and here's how it's affecting me”. I could get back into that, and find a way to bring that back in.
So, resilience is, it’s the mindset kind of knowing like, “Okay. These may not affect me as deeply, or I know what to do when they are, so that I can come out of this a little bit easier and a little bit quicker each time”. But it's also our brain growing more resilient to that stress response. So, it is triggered but it's going to turn off a little bit faster, or it's not going to stay triggered for as long, or go into that like full blown like sound the alarms, send out the signal into your body, stress is here. It's going to be like, “Okay, this is stressful, but we'll move back on and you can start being able to process and think about things again soon”.
So, resilience is just – it's an amazing tool to have. And it is so important now because like we've all been through a lot just as humans in our world in the last two years. Like it’s -- and more than that, it’s been a lot to go with. And so, having resilience, and knowing that we can make it through, we can learn things from this. It doesn't mean that we have to be happy about what's happened, or love the experience that we've had, but knowing that we can learn some things from it, and move forward, and not have it be the same experience each time…
Mattie Murrey 31:19
Jessi Andricks 31:19
… if it ever happens again, is really important.
Mattie Murrey 31:22
What words of advice do you have for the SLP who, like you at the beginning of this episode, it was like I don't know if this is the career for me?
And I ask this question because as a graduate professor when I meet graduate students – I mean, their first years, they come in – I am one of their first experiences of a supervisor, and I’m like “Tell me your big ‘why’”. And they're like “I want to do this”. And so many SLPs, they get out, even as early as their clinical fellows, they're like this is not what I thought it was going to be.
Jessi Andricks 31:55
Mattie Murrey 31:55
And they go into their careers, and if – they lose their big ‘why’. And you lost your big ‘why’ for time. What words of advice do you have for being resilient for these SLPs?
Jessi Andricks 32:09
Yeah. I love that you bring that up. It's almost like we go into it with this like romantic notion about what – and I definitely – I was in love with it as an undergrad, and just had this big room. And then grad school is the reality check of like, “Yeah, that's beautiful, but here's the actual – the work”. And then, yeah, you get out in the field …
Mattie Murrey 32:33
Jessi Andricks 32:33
… and then you're really doing it, and you're like this is a lot different than what we imagined.
So, trying to find that why, that you said, like you lose it a little bit, but trying to stay connected to it. Or allowing it to maybe shift too. Like because you might get out into the world and realize that what you thought you might be wanting to – sometimes we think I'm going to work in this setting, and this population, and then we get out there and it's not what we thought. Or even if we still love that, maybe like if you wanted to work in a school, and schools where you live start at 7:00 am, but that's not possible for you, or you've got to commute. Like sometimes the actual like lifestyle around the job, or the setting, or the population that we thought …
Mattie Murrey 33:26
Jessi Andricks 33:26
… might not really meet up with what you need in your life. So, looking at things beyond simply that.
Mattie Murrey 33:32
Jessi Andricks 33:32
Beyond this is the population I want to work with, and this is the setting I want to work with.
Mattie Murrey 33:37
Jessi Andricks 33:37
But being realistic too. Like, okay, what's available? Where do you want to live? Where do you want to be living and what is available there? Looking at the things like does this match up with the way that you live your life? The type of hours that you want to be working? Those types of things are pretty important too.
But kind of one big thing is that we have the ability to change jobs pretty frequently as SLPs. We can job hop. And I think that we use that as our way to get out of stress, or to keep seeking – like okay, that Job didn't work for me, what's the next one? But that doesn't always get rid of stress.
Mattie Murrey 34:27
Jessi Andricks 34:27
We kind of touched on that at the beginning. Like there are toxic worse workplaces, for sure, and that's nowhere for anyone to ever be in if it's a toxic workplace. You’ve got to get out of it.
But one thing that I like to – kind of advice that I like to give, is before you decide, “Okay, I'm stressed. I'm just going to find a new job, and then the stress will be gone”. Before you decide to do that it's important to try and manage the stress first. To try, and for a couple of reasons. So, if we can manage the stress first, then you can see is it really the job? Or is it stress that has been triggered that I’ve got to work through in my own body, and in my own brain, and to turn that stress response down. And it could have been something at work that triggered it. It could have been something outside of work. And that'll help you see if it really is the job, or if it is the stress.
The other reason is, that if you just leave a job, and you go to another job, and you haven't turned down that stress response, it might be really nice at first, right? Like it's that kind of that new feeling of being at a new place, of having – everything is very hopeful, everything is really looking up. But as soon as something triggers your stress response – it's almost like sometimes if we keep switching jobs, that the stress happens faster at each place. Then we wonder, and then we start to feel really down on the field, and think like, “Man, every job I go to, it's just more stressful than the last one, and the stress hits me sooner”. And it's because that stress response hasn't been turned down. So, even if you leave, and you have that moment of like happiness and bliss that you're like really excited about your new job, but let's say like a week into it a supervisor says like, “Hey, we're going to do this, or I need to talk to you about this”, or just something doesn't go quite well, it’s that stress response hasn't been turned down, and we haven't really started to manage the stress. If it’s still kind of lingering there, it's going to fire up really quickly, and you're going to be right back where you left off at the other job, but in the new place.
Mattie Murrey 36:32
Jessi Andricks 36:32
And then if you leave it again, it's going to follow you there, and get triggered again sooner. And you're going to – the first job that's stressful, that stress slowly builds. But if you don't manage it, and you go to the next place, it's not a slow build anymore. You're already in the stress. So, it's going to feel like it hits you really deep, really fast. And that's why it's going to be like, “Well, this – this is a terrible place to be. I can't do this job. I need to find somewhere else”, and then keep going.
Mattie Murrey 36:56
I made a wrong decision.
Jessi Andricks 36:32
Yeah. “ I made a wrong decision. This place is awful”. Sometimes – sometimes they are, but a lot of the time we need to manage the stress first …
Mattie Murrey 37:06
Jessi Andricks 37:06
… to either figure out if it is an awful place to be, if we need to advocate in some way, or if the stress was keeping us from really being able to problem solve…
Mattie Murrey 37:18
Jessi Andricks 37:19
… and to figure out some strategies at the workplace that we're in.
Mattie Murrey 37:22
And these lessons, this wisdom you're giving us applies across our careers, across our relationships, across our relationships with our money, with our spiritual journeys, everywhere. It's understanding what our triggers are, our management, and everything else. So, excellent.
Everybody, go check out Jessi Andricks. Jessiandricks.com, she's got a lot of phenomenal courses there. On our show notes, she's giving us a downloadable meditation audio, and you can access it at her personal SLP Stress Management Coaching package page, and sign up for her newsletter – which I get all the time, and I love it.
And a final question for you, Jessi.
Jessi Andricks 37:08
Mattie Murrey 38:08
This is the What I Didn't Learn in Graduate School series, and we've talked about stress management. So, summarizing our podcast, what did you not learn in graduate school that you wish you had known?.
Jessi Andricks 38:22
Oh, so many things stress and life – but I did not learn how to manage stress. I didn't learn anything about it. I learned this, being an SLP and studying it should be the only thing of importance in my life, and I didn't agree with learning that and that led to some stress. That led to a lot of conflict when I was in grad school, which was not fun and led to more stress.
Mattie Murrey 38:50
Jessi Andricks 38:50
So, when I was in grad school it was almost this just is how life is. Like be stressed, be all-in on this, and this is what you're going for. So, I mean, being able to manage stress as a grad student – if you're able to think more clearly, right? If you're able to manage the stress, then you're able to think more clearly. You're able to problem solve. It helps you to be able to learn and absorb more of what you're learning, and then be able to problem solve and strategize, and figure out these things when you're trying to learn to do therapy, and when you're trying to figure out like what's going on with one of your patients that you're seeing, or when you're trying to pass a test or study. Having ways to manage that stress that flares up, whether it's you have nervousness about taking a test, or you're just not sure what to do in the clinical that you've been given for that semester – having ways to manage your stress is just so important. And it's not only going to help you as an SLP in grad school, it's going to help you as an SLP in the field in your CF…
Mattie Murrey 40:00
Jessi Andricks 40:01
… in your – when you get your CEs. But then it's also going to help you not just in the work part, but in the other life part as well. So, being able to learn how to manage that when you're in grad school, finding tools to use like mindfulness, meditation, getting up and moving your body to help it get out of the moment of stress, out of tension, journaling about things. These are just really great tools and things that I wish I had had, and then I was trying to use but I didn't really know what to do with, and having support behind managing. So, all of those things would have been incredibly helpful to have in grad school, and beyond.
Mattie Murrey 40:46
It would keep you in the green and the yellow, not in the red.
Jessi Andricks 40:48
Mattie Murrey 40:51
Well, thanks for coming on today. It was excellent talking to you.
Jessi Andricks 40:54
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.
Mattie Murrey 41:04
I hope today's conversation has created some aha moments for you, and motivated you to become a better SLP, continuing to connect some of those missing links between what you know and how to use that knowledge. Thank you for downloading The Missing Link for SLP’s Podcast, and if you enjoyed the show, I'd love you to subscribe, rate it, and leave a short review. Also, please share an episode with a friend. Together, we can raise awareness and help more SLPs find and connect those missing links, and get the information needed to help them feel confident in their patient care every step of the way.
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