Grab your FREE Ticket to the EmpowerEd 2 Teach with AI Virtual Conference ⚡️

88. New Year with Renewed Purpose: Life-Changing Teacher Burnout Lessons to Carry into 2024 [Teacher Pep Talk]

Jan 09, 2024

Listen on your favorite pod player: 

Apple Podcasts | Spotify |  Amazon Podcast  | Google Podcasts

As we embark on a brand new year, many of us may find ourselves reflecting on the past and seeking to set new goals and intentions for the future. In the midst of uncertainty and challenging times, it's crucial to find a renewed sense of purpose and direction. In this episode, we dive into navigating through difficult seasons, reprioritizing our lives, and finding a sense of intention and purpose.

In this episode, I share a personal story that I've been reflecting on since the end of 2023 and how the difficult circumstances led to a profound shift in perspective that I know at least one other teacher out there may need to hear as well. My intention with this episode is to bring you a sense of renewed purpose for the new year.


  • Overcoming difficult seasons and burnout
  • Setting intentional goals and finding purpose in the new year
  • Prioritizing life and reflecting on past experiences
  • Recognizing the importance of perspective and prioritizing what truly matters
  • Living with intention and building a life that is fulfilling
  • Self-reflection and learning from past experiences
  • Balancing priorities in personal and professional life
  • Identifying what brings joy and satisfaction
  • Understanding the value of everyday happiness and fulfillment
  • Taking actionable steps to align daily actions with personal values and priorities
  • Embracing resilience and the journey of growth


  • Take the FREE Teacher Burnout Roadmap to Burnout Recovery Quiz - Take this short, fun, and informative quiz to discover what you need to sustain your teaching career and begin burnout recovery. This quiz will help you understand what support systems you need, how to prioritize your mental health to live a fulfilling and energized life as a teacher, and what drives your self-care.





The Resilient Teacher Podcast is the show that will give overwhelmed educators the support, tools, and mindset to reduce teacher burnout and keep teaching sustainable. Each week, Brittany Blackwell, M.Ed. & her guests will share inspiration and actionable steps to avoid or recover from the dreaded teacher burnout. You'll be inspired to individualize self-care and learn to prioritize your well-being and mental health, all while making a bigger impact on your classrooms and community.


Are you subscribed to the podcast? If not, I encourage you to do that NOW so you never miss another episode! New episodes are added every Tuesday, and if you're not subscribed there's a good chance you might miss out on notifications that a new episode has gone live. Click here to subscribe on iTunes!

And if you are feeling extra amazing, I would be super grateful if you would leave a review on iTunes, too! Those reviews help other educators who are burned out and needing support find the podcast, and I love shouting you out on the Community Reviewer of the Week Segment! Just click here to review, select "Ratings & Reviews" and "Write a Review" and share what you are loving about the podcast!

Some links on this page are affiliate links. This helps to support this podcast at no additional cost to you.


Navigating Through Unexpected Hard Seasons


If you've ever had one of those super unexpected, just really hard seasons come into your life, it can turn your world upside down, truly upside down.

Everything you once put at the forefront goes to the back burner, and it can just feel like you're navigating through a fog, uncertain of which way to turn.

And during those times, the things that once really seemed crucial can suddenly seem less important, and you can find yourself reprioritizing your life in ways that you've never expected.

I think that this is exactly what burnout does to us.

It's disruptive. It shakes us. It wakes us up. It makes us question our routines, our life choices, our jobs, right?

We think, do we even really want to be teachers anymore?

Is it even truly worth it? Let me know if this is you too.

Finding Purpose and Intention in the New Year


With this being the first episode in this brand new year, I know that a lot of you are wanting to set goals and really want to be intentional.


Find that sense of purpose for the new year ahead, head. And that's exactly what I want to help you do by chatting today in this episode.

I haven't released a pep talk style episode in a while, but I know that there is at least one other teacher out there who needs this message.

And so if you're in a really difficult season in that fog and unsure of where to go, want to live with a renewed sense of purpose or intention, stick around because this might just be exactly what you need to hear today. So let's jump right in.

New Year: Overwhelming or Inspiring?


At the start of the new year, it can either feel really super overwhelming because you kind of want to like change everything and do all these different things, or it can feel super inspiring because it kind of feels like a clean slate.

And hopefully you are choosing to see this brand new 2024 as a clean slate that you get to design.

And I know a lot of teachers and people in general, they love to set those new year's resolutions, but that's just, that's not how I roll.

I talked a little bit about this in episode 32, and I replayed it a couple of weeks ago in episode 87 to kind of explain why I don't like the idea of resolutions.

Lessons from the Past Year for Growth and Healing


But the one thing that I do believe and that I love about the new year, and I hope that this episode will inspire you to consider, is there is so much to learn from where we have been.

And when we can take the time to look for the lessons in our reflection, we will undoubtedly grow, transform, and heal.

And the last couple of weeks of my 2023, I got hit like a pound of bricks in the face with some big lessons and some experiences that just really renewed my sense of purpose, my priorities.

And I want to share that experience and those lessons with you in order to hopefully open open your eyes the way that it opened mine.

If you have ever had like one of those super unexpected or just hard seasons come into your life, you get shook.

And December was that month where I got shook.

Teaching: A Challenging Profession, Is it Worth it?


It doesn't matter if you have the absolute worst class in your career, if you go.


Into pandemic teaching and you have to move completely virtually for the remainder of the year, if you're dealing with personal issues that kind of seep into your professional life, or if you're just simply overwhelmed by the unrelenting demands of teaching, the fact of the matter is that teaching is a really, really hard profession, no matter what way you look at it, no matter what subject or grade level, whatever that you teach.

And it comes down to the question of, is this the hard that you want to do?


Because for me, I've done other hard. I did hard as a waitress.

I will never again do that.

I've done hard with a toxic administrator. I hated that.

I've done hard with teaching a grade level that I was not cut out for, even though I know a lot of people who are really great at it just wasn't for me.

I've not gotten along with a co-teacher before. That was miserable.

But I've also made amazing lesson plans and took forever to do that, carried those out.

And I saw my students achieve big things that everybody said that they wouldn't be able to do.

And all of that, all of that was hard.

Every single one of those things. And you know what?

That's a lesson that I've learned throughout my time as a teacher and then again in the end of 2023. 23.

There are so many things that come up that really just aren't important.

Think about that for a minute.


What are you making important that really isn't?

Like, I know for sure that the things that I focus on, that I spin my wheels on, that I avoid or I cry over, I yell about, I obsess over, any of those emotions, they're all things that either haven't happened yet or they're things that I have control over and can change, I just don't because I'm so used to doing the things the way that I always do them.

And so I want you to just kind of sit and think about that for a minute.

As you're going into this year, back from break, I want you to sit and think, are you bringing things with you into the new year from last year that you're obsessing over or worrying about that don't truly matter?

That with a perspective change wouldn't even be an issue. you.

You see, that's what I had in December.

I had a complete perspective change. And I've decided that I want to share this story because I know that with the platform that I hold, that this lesson that I learned will inevitably help somebody else to have that perspective change too.

While some of this might be a little deep or might be a little bit heavy, my intention is to kind of bring this to you in a powerful way.

And my purpose is in sharing this to make this a mindset shift that might support and might empower you going forward in your burnout recovery journey.

So without going into like.


A long, in-depth story. My dad had open-heart surgery at the beginning of December, and my husband and I ended up with COVID, so I wasn't able to visit him, and that was really stressful.

About a week after his surgery, he developed pneumonia, and I went to visit, and he was in respiratory distress.


I watched them wheel him out with the code team, and he had to be put on a ventilator, which was extremely traumatic for me.

That same day, my aunt was rushed to the hospital, put on a ventilator.

The next day, she ended up passing away.

My dad remained in critical care. And that very same day, we found my grandmother on the floor in her home where she'd fallen.

And she was very confused and delirious. So she had to be taken to the hospital as well.

Needless to say, I saw death and then almost death twice more.

And throughout all of this, within just a couple of short days, I kept having these flashes of recognition that all of these small, trivial things that I worry about on a daily basis literally do not matter. They don't matter.

They do not matter in the grand scheme of things.

It doesn't matter that my lessons weren't perfect or that my classroom wasn't the most organized or that I didn't get to every email in my inbox. None of that mattered.


All that mattered was my family. All I could think about were the moments that I took for granted.

All of those memories that I won't ever get to have again and the ones that I might not get to have again.

What matters is the people that we love and the people that we care for being present and in the moment and truly living our best lives while we are here.

This slap in the face for me put into sharp focus how often all of us are stressing over these minuscule things and truly how fragile life is.


No one is going to sit at your funeral and say, man, you know, she always had those lesson plans done.

She always emailed right back. You know, she never took her sick days.

She was always the first car in the parking lot and the last to leave.

No, nobody is going to say that.

Your life as an educator is about how you show up and the passion that you bring. And let's be real.

If you're stressing over these little things and you're not in the right perspective, who you are and what's important, that gets lost.


And so as we go into this new year, I want to spend my life being more intentional, doing the things that matter most with the people that I love, and I really want that for you too.

This experience led me to realizing and wanting to remind you that we both only have one shot here.

We both only have a certain number of days, and we don't know the count.

And yeah, that might sound a little bit dreary or a little bit dark, but it's also a really beautiful reminder and fuel to live and build a life that you love.

But I also think that this can give you a lot of clarity, especially if you're feeling like you're in that fog, you're not really sure where to go.

I know that I do this often.

I've been confused. I automatically think to myself, what if today was my last day on earth?

How do I want people to feel? What do I I want them to say at the end?

What are they going to miss most about me?

If today was my last day, what would I sit back and think, dang, like, I really wish I would have done that?

What would be my coulda, woulda, shouldas?


And instead of shutting our lives away, I want to make it a point for us to start doing that stuff right now.

So this year, I want to encourage you to do two things this week to really begin living your best life inside and outside of the classroom.

Number one, take some time to reflect.

What did you learn from this past year? Did it teach you that you were spending way too much time on work and not enough time in life? Did it teach you that the opinions of other people, they just don't matter?

Did it teach you that no matter how much you give, at the end of the day, your needs come first?

Because the end of 2023 had me looking at the biggest lesson yet again from 2023, something that I learned over and over and over, that sometimes I was just sweating the small stuff.

Are you sweating the small stuff too? That sometimes I wasn't focusing on the real priorities, that I wasn't always taking the time to be present with my family, with my life. Is that you too?

That my biggest purpose in life is to be a person that I am proud of and to be that for the people that I care most about. Is that you too?

So write it down. What lessons did 2023 teach you?


Number two, focus on what matters, not just in your classroom, but in life, because you're not just a teacher.

You're human, and you deserve to live a happy, joyful life, not just on summer break, not just on Christmas break or spring break, but all the time.

And if you're not, start asking yourself those tough questions.

Why are you not feeling fulfilled?

Finding Balance and Joy in Life


What's missing? What's imbalanced in your life?

Start to explore what truly brings you joy. What brings you satisfaction?

You didn't just become a teacher because you wanted to make an impact and that's it.

There was something else about teaching that was really pulling you in.

And if that thing is still there, there is still hope.

It's essential for you to understand that happiness and fulfillment, those things in life, are not just byproducts of these breaks or these vacations.

It should consistently be a part of your everyday life.

Aligning Actions with Core Values


So what do you value most? Is it family? Is it health? Is it creativity? Is it something else?

And start to align your daily actions and your decisions with these values.

And if you find any of this hard or any of this confusing or you just need that clarity, let me leave you with this If you died in 24 hours Who would you not have gotten to be?


Like what just instantly came to mind for me The first thing that I thought of was an author.

I really want to write a book I I think I think that way of thinking is so much more powerful than this list of resolutions.

And that gives you such clarity at what you can prioritize now and give you some fuel as to what changes you might need to start making today.

At the end of this, I want you to know you are not alone.

You are a resilient teacher. We're in this together. You've got this.

Get Your Personalized Roadmap to Burnout Recovery

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

Stay Connected with me on Instagram: