Burnt Out to Lit Up

A Podcast by Joy Energy Time

Welcome to the Burnt Out to Lit Up Podcast

The only podcast addressing the destructive and under-reported issue of burnout in the healthcare industry. Your host, Erika del Pozo MOT, OTR/L addresses a variety of related topics and clues you in on real world tools and experiences you can use today to become the most LIT UP version of yourself.

Erika is an Occupational Therapist by trade. How does that help you ask?  OTs come locked and loaded with the knowledge and education to help you deal with mental health and wellness. Her podcast will include relevant stories, current research, interviews, statistics, and daily tips and hacks you can use to reduce and manage symptoms of burnout on the job.

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Show Notes

Short on time? Get the gist with key points, links and references from each episode.

When an occupational therapist brings their skills to the “real world,” magic happens. Erin Clarelli founded does just that. She shares the difference between bringing modalities into traditional occupational therapy practice vs bringing occupational therapy skills out to daily occupations and activities. Erin breaks down how she got the entrepreneurial bug, her intentions in bringing skilled yoga practice to children of all abilities, and more! Biggest takeaway:

  1. Bringing occupational therapy based skills and knowledge to yoga practice combines a knowledge and understanding of how the “whole picture” works together- how your sensory system, body awareness, executive functions, motor planning, and more produces and output of your performance.

Connect with Erin:


Key Points:

Wellness is defined as: “Active process through which individuals or groups or populations become aware of and make choices toward a more successful existence. Wellness is more than a lack of disease symptoms, it is a state of mental and physical balance and fitness.” (Occupational Therapy Practice Framework, Third Edition, 2014). With that being said, wellness is HOT. It’s trendy. It’s a multi-million dollar market. Wellness is being sold as face masks, charcoal treatments, yoga retreats, supplements, turmeric lattes, kombucha, bio-hacking, saunas- I mean wellness is being sold to you in hundreds of different ways. None of those examples are wrong. It’s about our approach to wellness. Are we being wellness phonies? In episode 35 of the Burnt Out to Lit Up podcast “Three REAL Ways to Practice Wellness”, I share three RAW tips to lay down the foundation for real wellness. Here are snippets of the three tips:

  • Begin by defining wellness for YOU. Don’t allow others such as fancy schmancy social media influencers define wellness for you. YOU define it for you. Realistically what does well-being look like for you? Improving the quality of your sleep? Reducing your munching on your kid’s leftover chicken nuggets? Getting some sunlight? Making the bed? Begin with what is real to you.
  • Take notice of judgment. If you’re Miss yoga queen with the chai lattes and Lululemon yet you overtly pass judgment on everyone from your real life to Instagram? You may have some beneficial hobbies and routines in place that have health benefits to your body and mind, but you are missing a HUGE chunk of the wellness pie. Having a successful existence cannot be with a judgmental heart and mind. Judgment comes from pain, and it’s easier to judge others rather than deal with the pain. I encourage everyone to read the The Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Berstein. This book is literally what everyone, let alone the entire country and entire world needs to read to heal our wounds and to come from a place of love rather than fear.

Take a breath. Breath is essential to life. How are you breathing? Most of us breath from our chest. During certain situations, this is essential (i.e. exercising, running from a burglar. You get me). Stop and put your hand on your belly. Feel your belly moving up and down. Connecting with your breath ignites your prefrontal cortex and quiets the amygdala. In the middle of a hectic day at work, treating patients back to back all day, it’s important that you take breathing breaks (doesn’t have to be actual breaks away from people or patients, but rather implementing belly breathing while you work. Take your breathing breaks often. Re-connect with your body. We are so disconnected from ourselves and more connected with our phones. Toddlers naturally use belly breathing and we as adults have lost that because we’re not in the moment. In my case, a huge cause of my anxiety was being in control of my breathing. Once I took that back, everything else in my life fell into place.

Key Points:

“The Future is Stigmas Free” is Whitney Goodman’s favorite saying. She is a psychotherapist working with individuals and couples dealing with substance abuse recovery. Whitney breaks down some myths around therapists, stigmas around mental health and addiction, the science behind an addict’s mind, ineffective and effective stress coping, and more. This is a juicy one! Here are some golden nuggets from the episode:

  1. Whitney’s philosophy is keeping it real. She believes in real tools for real people. Most often people assume therapists are out of touch with real human emotions, are only meant for people carrying a diagnosis, and more. Whitney breaks down these myths and explains that you don’t need an official diagnosis to see a psychotherapist.
  2. Everyone has mental health, just like everyone has physical health. When people hear mental health, they assume disease and associate the term “mental health” with a mental health condition or illness.
  3. When someone has a substance addiction, there are three stages. When a person is at the most severe stage, willpower is out the window. The brain chemistry has changed and that person’s ability to make rational decisions has been significantly impacted.
  4. Feelings are not facts. We create stories based off of negative experiences and carry that around with us. When you’re dealing with a stressful situation, ask yourself the four following questions: Is it true? Can you absolutely know it’s true? How do you react when you believe the thought? Who would you be without that thought?
  5. Sometimes using “I am” statements can limit us. For example- “I am an anxious person” “I am an alcoholic” “I am shy.” We are more than what we have labeled ourselves- we are multi-faceted people and just because we have label doesn’t make us that label. We can become empowered by using labels that serve us. However, also know that you are as you define yourself.

Connect with Whitney:

Instagram: Sitwithwhit

You can schedule a 15 minute free phone consult with Whitney!

Key Points:

“Be Happy! Be Positive!” Can make anyone want to throw up after a while. In the spirit of wanting to be happier, is that actually harmful? What’s the difference between happiness and joy? Would you rather feel pleasure or satisfaction? What’s the difference?

In episode 32 of the Burnt Out to Lit Up podcast called Why You Don’t Want To Be “Happy,” I go into why being happy isn’t the end all, be all and five simple yet profound steps you can take to cultivate true joy in your life. Here is a snippet of those five steps:

    1. Keep a journal. Use it to write down affirmations, your gratitude, dreams, goals, current state, intentions for the day (or week or year); anything goes. Take this time to explore and get in touch with your life’s mission. Having meaning in life will give you purpose. Writing it down is so therapeutic and brings everything in your head to life.
    2. Disconnect each day. Easier said than done right? But it’s possible. Out of sight, out of mind. Put your phone in another room for an hour and see if you can survive (you can do it!). Learn to separate yourself from the constant distraction. I can guarantee that checking your Instagram 100 times a day does NOT contribute to your deep-rooted joy (although those dopamine hits do make us feel good, but in the short term).

  • Cultivate your internal locus of control. What this means is not relying on fate, luck, etc. to determine your fate. Those phrases “It is what it is” and “Lo que sera, sera” place too much emphasis on the external. Learn that although you are not always responsible for what happens, you are responsible for how you respond to events in life and how you show up.
  • Help others or the environment. Helping and serving others instantly makes you feel good. You are selflessly serving those that cannot give back to you. It makes us feel good because we’re making a difference in the world, which contributes to our meaning and purpose in life. Find a cause that means something to you. Whether it’s donating your time or your money (or both), find a cause you can become involved in that will bring you joy.

Find people who bring out the best in you. That phrase we hear all too often: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” has been shown to carry actual weight. If you’re working on your inner joy and you’re surrounding yourself with negative, low-energy people, is that really serving you? I get it. Sometimes we don’t have a choice (i.e. family members, co-workers). But it comes back to that internal locus of control- how are you handling it? Can you reduce the time you spend with those people? Can you replace old friendships with people that energize you? Recognize and honor the fact that you are growing and not everyone grows at the same pace. It’s more than OK to let go of the people that bring you down and understand that they did serve a purpose in your life at one point. Always listen to your inner compass.

Key Points:

The myth has been busted: You can have a meaningful career without being a clinician. Meredith Castin the founder of the Non-Clinical PT, a brand dedicated to helping occupational/physical/speech therapists find their non-clinical paths through coaching services, free content, and more. Meredith shares her journey and passion behind becoming a physical therapist and starting her brand. We do NOT hold back- we talk about the stigmas and double standards in healthcare regarding a non-clinical route and more. If you’re considering a “non-traditional” path in healthcare or any field, then this episode is for you. 

Connect with Meredith:

Instagram:Nonclinical PT

Key Points:

Meet Clare Brady, founder of Fitting It All In. She is keeping busy and staying healthy! I’m so happy I had the pleasure to interview this amazing woman. She is a third year medical student based in St. Louis, MO, yoga teacher, and eating disorder advocate. Her dream is a practice focusing on mental health and integrative medicine – treating the underlying cause of disease using a lifestyle-first approach. In this episode, we go into the darkness of her eating disorder, recovery, intuitive eating, and her position now as an advocate to help women and girls and remove stigmas surrounding eating disorders and mental health issues. Clare gives us an “Integrative Health 101” breakdown and talks about the relevance and importance of this branch of medicine. Here are some golden nuggets from the episode:

  1. Clare talked about how intuitive eating has allowed her food freedom and so much more. She mentions this awesome intuitive eating challenge by Jamie Mendell that she loves and highly recommends!
  2. Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies. And the good news is that it can be right around you. Find your nearest integrative medicine healthcare provider here.

Connect with Clare:


Key Points:

  • Based out of Charlotte, NC, Dr Michael Masi PT, DPT, Orthopedic Certified Specialist, Sports Certified Specialist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified International Society of Sports Nutrition, Certified Manual Trigger Point Therapist
  • Founder of Masi Fitness and co founder of The Charlotte Athlete, offering rehab and physical therapy, sports training, tele-health/fitness/nutrition.
  • Finding the right healthcare advice is half the battle. Don’t settle for mediocre online fitness , nutrition, or rehab advice from cookie cutter PT’s when there are real experts to learn from.
  • As healthcare providers, finding your niche is a key way to make us happy and prevent burnout. Dr Masi discusses his love for sport and how it has shaped his businesses Masi Fitness and The Charlotte Athlete.
  • We discuss the Energy Balance Equation and how your energy in /energy out can contribute to burnout
  • Dr Masi and his colleagues at The Charlotte Athlete give seminars and CEUs to share their wealth of knowledge!
  • He can be contacted at mike@thecharlotteathlete, on Instagram @masi_fitness, and on facebook under Masi Fitness or The Charlotte Athlete.

Key Points:

  • Failure is a good thing, if you’re not failing at something, you aren’t challenging yourself
  • “Success is not built on success, it is built on failure. Even catastrophe.” – Sumner Redstone
  • I share my own stories about failure in my life that have shaped who I am today

Key Points:

  • Anna Rodriguez BSN, RN CCRN, PCCN, has been a nurse for 10yrs and has 2 certifications: a progressive care certified nurse, and a critical care certified nurse. She has been a travel nurse, and a nurse manager for 2 years. She also just got back from a nursing conference and was a social media influencer for that event
  • Burnout sneaks up on you. You may not know until it’s too late.
  • Take responsibility for your own well being. Set limits and boundaries. Set what you are willing to give on a daily basis and don’t budge on it
  • The Burnout Book- Anna’s website to help HCPs like us to tackle their burnout beast!
  • Minimalism – Tiny homes! Anna lived in a tiny house for 1 year full time and loved it. Getting rid of all your junk is very freeing
  • Flow states – doing something that truly makes you happy and you feel a balance
  • Find Anna on Instagram, @annathenurse, and on her website

Key Points:

  • Leadership is about teamwork and helping each other, not authority.
  • OT takes into account the whole person, we need to be looking a patients holistically.
  • OT can be extremely versatile, it doesn’t have to just involve traditional clinical care.
  • Find Lauren @lgthefitot on Instagram and Facebook, and
  • Check out her Health and Fitness Practitioner Group!

Key Points:

  • We as humans have come such a long way in such a short amount of time. We live in high rises, have artificial lights, and have “transcended” nature. We think we are separate from nature and have distanced ourselves in our society from nature. We have homes that have lots of nice things. We have screens that entertain us. We can fill the void with things. And we are crashing and spiraling downward because of it.
  • We live in the technology era- both a blessing and a curse. As a result, I have seen kids over-stimulated and under-occupied at the same time. I have seen kids that need medication for attention when other lifestyle factors have not been adjusted. This age has brought people from all corners of the Earth together, yet have distanced two friends at lunch because they’re on their phones.
  • This revolution has allowed information to travel right to your fingertips so your amygdala is always on high alert. Kids are playing outside less and inside more. People are spending less time in the sun. We expect everything to happen NOW. Our attention spans have shortened. We are not grounded.
  • Reconnecting with nature can be brought to you. Working in greenery has been shown to increase productivity because when a person is less stressed, they work better.
  • Roger Ulrich compared in a 1984 study titled “View Through A Window May Influence Recovery From Surgery,” two sets of patients—one with “tree views” and one with “wall views.” He showed, using clinical data, that patients with tree views had “shorter postoperative hospital stays, fewer negative evaluative comments from nurses, took fewer moderate-to-strong analgesic doses, and had slightly lower scores for minor postsurgical complications.”
  • Make contact with the Earth. Go to the beach if you live near one and dig your toes in the sand. Take off your shoes and stick your feet in the grass. Start a small garden and pick up some dirt. Get INTO nature.

Key Points:

  • Presenteeism- You look fine on the outside but people can’t really see how you’re feeling.
  • So what is it exactly? It refers to productivity loss resulting from real health problems. It’s not malingering or goofing off. It’s for reals.
  • A day or more off can also mean burdening coworkers with job duties, coming back to a heavy backlog of work responsibilities, or missing work deadlines. We’re afraid to call out sick, but in the case of presenteeism it can do more harm than good.
  • Researchers have found that less time is lost from people staying home than from them showing up but not performing at full capacity.
  • It’s clear that when people don’t feel their best, they can’t do their best work. The first step, clearly, is making your managers and yourself aware of what’s going on.
  • Providing education and clear guidelines at work as well as a positive work culture can help to keep presenteeism at bay.
  • Resources:

Key Points:

  • Handling stress is not about being perfect and never having stress, but realizing you are an evolving human and you can learn from your experiences. It’s about how we handle ourselves during stressful situations vs. the actual stressor itself most of the time.
  • Do NOT neglect self-care when you are stressed. Self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Self-care doesn’t always mean putting on a mask and taking a spa day. Self-care is about taking 15 minutes for yourself to move or be still with yourself; it’s about getting to bed early if you can. Doesn’t need to be this over-the-top thing.
  • Do NOT throw away good eating habits. It’s easy during stressful periods like finals week or during a project at work to completely just throw all sense out of the window. I’m happy that during a really stressful week in April that I got to meal prep on Monday which helped me to grab for pre-measured healthy meals when I could even though I was out of the house more than usual and running on coffee (SO guilty!)
  • Do NOT stress about getting everything done at once. Thinking about all the papers, projects, or patients you have to manage can be daunting. I like to break it up so my workload appears more manageable. Instead of thinking to myself last week, “I have 26 papers to grade by Friday,” I wrote in my planner “Grade 10 papers from 1-4pm.” You see? Puts the overwhelm at ease a bit and gives you a sense of control over the work you have.

Key Points:

  • Special Guest Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian, Miami native, and CEO of her private practice Essence Nutrition.
  •,, @eatlikemonica on Insta
  • Nutrition is more than losing weight, Essence is about the whole person and takes a modern outlook. As such, they have a new Mind-Body Nutrition Program coming up  that will focus on the minds connection to your goals whether it be to lose weight, gain weight, get healthier, feel better, etc. If you’re focused on your body, you’re focused on the wrong thing. The mind is super important!
  • Nutrition progress not nutrition perfection
  • Calorie counting – What’s important is quality. What you’re eating and how you feel, not a number of how much
  • If you want food advice or have a goal – seek a qualified professional! No more listening to fad diets, unlicensed advice, or Instagram models
  • Diets – Needs to be evidence based and grounded in research. Don’t go for the next fad.
  • Approach all food with a positive attitude

Key Points:

  • Special guest Brett Kestenbaum, Co-founder and COO of CovalentCareers, a web platform that helps people find jobs and opportunities in healthcare, and New Grad Media LLC who consistently develops excellent content on New Grad Optometry, New Grad Physical Therapy, and New Grad Occupational Therapy concepts . Check out the links below.
  • Your degree is not a definition of who you are, it is a tool for you to gain the experience you want throughout your career. Consider other roles, don’t get holed up into one “box”.
  • Don’t quit at the “dip”, but watch out for “cul-de-sac”. In a dip , there is an incr in struggle in the beginning, but you can reap the benefits after you persevere. A “cul-de-sac” has no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, no chance for growth, no reward for the hardships.
  • CovalentCareers has a burnout article on New Grad Physical Therapy which has over 400k views,
    • Primarily, this issue comes from a lack of control and a lack of direction in their career path
    • It’s important to take the leap of change, listen to your body and mind. There are so many things we can do as clinicians
  • If you have a great idea or something you want to do, just show up day in and day out and start doing things. So many people are doing nothing that you will automatically be ahead of him. Get started!

Key Points:

  • Spring cleaning doesn’t just have to be your home. But let’s start there. Spring is a perfect opportunity to really declutter and get your shit together. I spring cleaned my closet, dresser, nightstand, and car this weekend and I can’t tell you how energized I’m feeling! Donate your clothes, really clear your space and let your space be a reflection of your health.
  • Spring clean your body. Notice what is aligning with you and what isn’t… are you indulging too much? Do ya need a reboot? Find a delish recipe, get excited to eat clean. Do a gut check- what foods or drinks can you limit? And think about your why and how you will feel if you cut back on some of those things. It’s totally OK to celebrate and treat yourself, but this is about getting excited about nourishing your body!
  • Spring clean your mind- Do you need a judgment detox? I’m sure we all do. Notice when you’re judging yourself and others- just by being aware you’ll get better at catching yourself! Replace judgment with gratitude. Replace negativity with positive intentions. I’m big on intentions. Big on holy selfishness- aka carving out special you time. You got this babe (or bro)
  • Spring clean your vibes- do something new that excites you. Be careful of people that drain your energy at work and spread toxicity. Do something to elevate your energy. Do you need to try something new? Refresh your energy? Or get back to doing the things that brought you into an amazing energetic space.
  • Spring clean your relationships-  that quote no new friends- I get it. But is it time to let some people go? Do you feel yourself distancing from people? Are there people you want to connect with? Doesn’t have to be in person- you can find your tribe online!

Key points:

  • Angie specializes in integrative health, emotional health and stress management, mental reframing and peak performance
  • Life soul foods  (or primary foods) include: relationships, physical activity, spirituality, career. Find out which needs work in your life, take the time to observe and work on the areas that are lacking. An imbalance between them can be the cause of a number of other life issues.
  • Bio-individuality – one person’s needs may not work for someone else. Your diet needs to be specific for your needs
  • You can be eating all the right things, but if your soul foods are lacking, you can still feel and look miserable.
  • Emotional health is just as important as physical health.
    • Manage emotions effectively, become an observer to them and become curious about why we feel a certain way, then find a solution. Pushing emotions aside or choosing to ignore them can make them stronger
  • Meaningful relationships – attract who you want to be around by first being who you want to be around. Be authentic, both with yourself and others.

Key Points:

  • A traditional stress management approach offers strategies like breathing, exercise, conversations, time and priority management as ways to reduce and manage stress. While useful and I preach these things all the time, they’re actually just responses to specific symptoms of overload and stress.
  • Resilience is the intrinsic ability of a system to adjust its functioning prior to, during, or following changes and disturbances so that it can sustain required operations, even after a major mishap or in the presence of continuous stress
  • Resilience is strategic and systemic; it’s something you develop.
  • Resilience occurs in the light of the stressors in the demanding environment. It allows you to develop, build self-efficacy and cope with ‘failures’

Presence: Developing the capacity to direct and focus attention.

  • Cultivating self-awareness. You create it

Perspective: Choosing, from a range of possible perspectives, the ones that are maximally freeing.

  • We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it. – Walter Mischel
    • What perspective do I currently have on a situation that I experience as limiting or frustrating?
    • What alternative perspectives are available for this same situation?
    • What evidence can I find to support each of these other perspectives?
    • Which perspective is the most liberating, energizing, and resilient?

Partnerships: Creating alliances with those who share values, goals and purpose, and can advance the work.

    • Who shares my interests in a challenging situation?
    • Which relationships provide support and increase my energy?
    • What helpful support or resources could I request?
    • Of whom might I make this request?

Pro-activity: Focusing on what can be done, rather than on obstacles, and staying in action.

  • Staying in action as an active participant rather than going along as a passenger is a key to resilience. Pro-activity requires identifying the actions we can take that are most likely to bring about results, and then taking them.
    • Which facts of my challenging circumstance is it time to simply accept?
    • In what circumstance do I tell myself there’s nothing I can do, when in fact I do have real choices?
    • What is a simple action, right in front of me that I haven’t let myself do?

Practice: Engaging in consistent and supportive physical, fun, and bodymind practices that are restorative.

  • What practices do you engage in that rejuvenate you?

Key Points:

  • Chronic stress decreases levels of serotonin and dopamine, which play a key role in regulating our mood, tension, energy, and motivation. Low levels of either of these neurotransmitters can lead to depression, anxiety, binge eating, addiction, lethargy, apathy.
  • Burnout is positively associated with poor quality of sleep, not restorative sleep, association of not feeling fresh on awakening in the presence of sleepiness and fatigue during the day.
  • Dr. Michael Breus talks about social jet-lag in his book the Power of When (see below for link) which occurs when you go to bed and wake up later on weekends than during the week, is associated with poorer health, worse mood, and increased sleepiness and fatigue.
  • Tip for quality sleep and to avoid social jet-lag is to Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
  • Eat a protein-rich breakfast! Eating a protein-rich breakfast vs. a carby breakfast will not only fill you but wake you up. Those comfort carbs will make you sleepy, which is something you don’t want when you wake up.
  • There was a study done by the University of Missouri and they found that eating a high-protein breakfast made the young women feel fuller throughout the day and eat a smaller dinner and fewer nighttime snacks. In contrast, starting the day with a low-protein breakfast or no breakfast at all made the study subjects more likely to graze on unhealthy (high-calorie but low-nutrient) foods throughout the day.
  • If you’re stressed or burnt out, you are most likely feeling low on not just mental energy but physical energy too, right?
  • Telomeres which is a a compound structure at the end of a chromosome,  are worn down by chronic stress causing cells to age quicker;  regular vigorous exercise may buffer us at a cellular level against negative effects of stress.
  • To start getting into a regular routine of working out, give yourself a cue to start working out (i.e. leave your sneakers out) to create the routine. To keep the routine regular, find intrinsic motivators. Find something you naturally enjoy so that you’re less inclined to make excuses
  • Developments in information and communication technology have basically eliminated physical constraints to reach out to employees, customers, business hours, etc.- now workers are expected to be available at any given time. As a result, work is no longer spatially, temporally, or socially distinct from non-work and we’re working on their free time to meet the job demands
  • Employees that engage in long working hours are more likely to experience a depressive state, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and cardiovascular disease
  • Lack of work-related recovery (sub dimension of control) opportunities leads to NFR (need for recovery), sleep disturbances, and health complaints
  • To combat this, begin to unplug. You have got to be conscious about building in unplug time. Make it really special and delicious time for yourself.
  • We live in a time where we are constantly receiving stimulation from screens. Our brain’s attempts in coping is by constantly trying to figure out how to overcome stress and find a way to calm itself down, which can break down over time.
  • So how can we create energizing rituals? Avoid the news within an hour before bed or anything violent or fast-paced. Feed your sensory system!
  • An energizing ritual for me is lighting a yummy candle and having calming music in the background while i finish some work at night after dinner.  Another one are my morning walks usually with my husband right before i have breakfast. Getting that sunlight really wakes me up.


Key Points:

  • Failures don’t define you. It’s up to you how you perceive a failure and how you move forward.
  • Being culturally sensitive in healthcare is everything. Not just assuming that a patient will understand you because it’s the way you do things. You need to adapt to providing  education and information that they’ll be able to digest.
  • Vapor rub will cure any disease (in a Hispanic culture)
  • Being overwhelmed is a choice. Decide that you will take action by getting yourself organized in school and in life.
  • Ted Talk that inspired Jesse:

Key Points:

  • Unexplained chronic pain is common, and the relationship between pain and tissue damage often gets weirder and murkier as time goes on, which can get totally confounding for patients and professionals.
  • Pain is very much a response from the brain based on a perceived threat to the tissues all of which is shaped by past experiences, emotions, social interactions and environmental factors. What can happen overtime is that receptors in your skin responsible for even light touch can stimulate a pain response over the painful areas if your brain perceives them as potential threat.
  • Research shows that in patients with chronic pain, there is more widespread activation of the areas that are associated with the perception and production of pain. This can explain the vague, widespread nature of chronic pain. There is also more activation of parts of the brain which are associated with emotional processing in chronic pain states. This may explain some of the emotional changes that can occur with chronic pain states.
  • Legrain et al (2013) suggested in the study how using meditation can actually help to reduce pain because you’re shifting your attention away from the pain. Using meditation, cognitive reappraisal, pain education, activity planning around flare-ups, and relaxation. This type of proactive intervention improves a personal functional capacity and puts them in the driver seat for once that they don’t have to be a victim to their pain. That they can be in charge of how they manage it.
  • Cognitive functional therapy is a great technique and it’s a client-centered approach to management that targets the beliefs, fears and associated behaviors (both movement and lifestyle) of people with pain.
  • Sure, chronic pain can be an added stressor in your life. You are not the victim if your pain.
  • Video on Cognitive functional therapy:
  • Pain management resource:
  • Free burnout prevention guide for healthcare professionals:

Interview with Alexa Schirm, wife and mother of 3, nutritionist, and founder of Simple Roots Wellness!

  • Caffeine
    • Small amounts are ok, but large amounts can trigger a stress response causing the release of cortisol. This frees up stored glucose for the fight or flight response, increases insulin release, fat stores, inflammation.
    • Can also affect your sleep cycle aka circadian rhythm and lead to less REM sleep
    • Cutting it out of your diet or at the very least pairing it only with meals can have a positive effect
  • Circadian Rhythm
    • Intermittent fasting: 10 hr window where you eat all your food throughout the day, ie start at 8am and stop by 6pm. Only water outside of those hours. This can hel reset your circadian rhythm and help you enter REM sleep
    • Go to bed at the same time every day
    • Focus on healthy fats: olive oil, avocados, etc
    • Reduce gluten
  • Stress
    • Cortisol
    • One can eat great and exercise regularly, but if you have alot of outside stressors you can still have trouble with weight, low energy, etc
    • Strive to set aside 1 hr per day just for yourself
    • Reduce decision fatigue: reduce the number of times throughout the day when you have to make a decision. Mark Zuckerberg wears the same outfit every day so he has one less thing to worry about
  • Skin
    • Absorbs 70% of what you put on it. Be mindful of whats in your beauty products, cleaners, shampoo, etc
  • Supplements
    • Magnesium: helps you reach REM sleep, natural relaxant
    • Vitamin D
    • B Vitamins: for energy
  • Alexa’s 5 day Hormone Reset Program
    • Helps you regular the RIGHT way. Reduce cravings, improve sleep, increase energy etc.
    • Find out more at, @alexaschirm on Instagram, @simplerootswellness on Facebook, Simple Roots Radio Podcast on iTunes

Key Points:

  • Occupational Therapy is a 2 year Masters Degree, Physical Therapy is a 3 year Doctorate. The application is a long, arduous, and expensive process. Make it count but apply to as many as you feel is necessary.
  • Significant others and/or other classmates are really important at any level of education. Cultivate those relationships as best you can, as those networks can help you in unforeseen ways in your career. You need the support during the hard times, they will help you and you will help them. Don’t be a loner.
  • Your program is your friend. They are there to help you through school and they want you to succeed.
  • Self esteem as a clinician: You’re going to have people in your profession that take everything far too seriously. If you’re having trouble with a supervisor, or had a bad patient interaction, it doesn’t mean you are a bad clinician. You won’t be able to please anyone. Don’t let these experiences drag you down professionally because it happens to everyone.
  • Disconnect from work outside of work. Don’t take work home. Your life outside of work is MORE IMPORTANT than your work.

Key Points:

  • Consider yourself to have “energy banks-” physical energy, socio-emotional energy, and spiritual energy. You want your bank statement to reflect a healthy, positive balance.
  • What happens in burnout is that your bank account one or more of your energy accounts is overdrawn- your outflow is more than your inflow.
  • The three key phases that attribute to burnout are exhaustion, cynicism, and decreased self-efficacy.
  • The phases of burnout include phase 1- all of our baselines. We are susceptible to it yet we have no symptoms.
  • Phase 2a- you’re beginning to feel the symptoms (depleted, exhausted, cynical) but you feel more fine than not
  • Phase 2b- Now you’re beginning to notice the burnout symptoms occur more often than not.  
  • Phase 2c- It’s been some time that you have felt you’ve lost your energy (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and you’re starting to convince yourself: “This feeling is normal, right?”
  • Phase 3a- You’re slipping into the danger zone. Your energy and compassion are reaching lows.
  • Phase 3b- You’re officially in the danger zone. Your energy accounts have gone in the negative. Bankrupt. You may be thinking about leaving your profession or going on a radial sabbatical.
  • Know that you are not alone. Burnout is more often a systematic problem. You are most likely not the first or last person to burnout at your organization.
  • You can begin to resist the forces of burnout by being mindful of when stress arises. You are in control of how you handle things. You are in the eye of the storm- that is something you can meditate on everyday before work and/or think about that analogy in the moment.
  • Restore, recharge, replenish yourself outside of work. Be mindful of coping mechanisms that offer an “escape” or allow you to numb out that are negatively impacting you like excessive binge watching TV, emotional eating, alcohol, etc.
  • Reduce exposure and get your work unit involved. Busier isn’t always better. Quality over quantity. Promote work well-being by changing the way you work.
  • Recognize that if you must leave your job or get out of a toxic environment and change is not possible, you must. Your health and well-being are more important.

Check out Chel Hamilton’s Eye of the Storm meditation on Spotify:

OR here:

Key Points:

  • We can’t manage time, time is time! Time just happens. So let’s talk about self-management and ways to manage yourself better.
  • Self management allows you to focus on yourself by practicing self-discipline and by following a calculated yet flexible schedule. It’s not rocket science but phrasing it this way works in miraculous ways.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if your friend is her most energetic self at 5 AM and gets everything done for the day by 8 AM. Honor your personal rhythms.
  • According to David Allen, inventor of the “Getting Things Done” methodology, he says “Self-management is about knowing what to do at any given moment.”
  • Everything we do is a choice – this is why our productivity (or lack of it) is all about self management. Every day we decide: when we will get up in the morning; whether we overbook our schedule; and whether we choose to be happy or not.
  • Good self- management isn’t about changing time, it’s about changing your behaviors. I think by having a steady routine you can establish a rhythm. Block certain times of the day to binge on social media and email, but let that come during your scheduled breaks or after your most important two hours are done.
  • I think no matter in life if you’re aiming to exercise more or stick to a nutrition or stress management plan, having accountability and support is KEY. A way to track your progress. I mean accountability can come from something like even an app right as long as you use it.
  • I like building in flex time in my schedule. Because the unexpected is inevitable. If you plan for the unanticipated, you’ll spend less time putting out fires and more time focused on the activities that fulfill you and move you closer to your goals.
  • Don’t just put up with things! Yes, I get to do errands today! I get to go to the post office! Think about it. You most likely have first world problems. Enjoy that! Enjoy your problems. Re-framing that is just amazing. They’ll still be annoying at first because you don’t want to do taxes, you don’t want to go to the post office. You have to stop those thoughts at a halt when they happen and be like, oh yeah I get to do this.
  • Best apps in 2018 for productivity:

Remember you can win a FREE juicy part (not the introduction or outline) of my happiness mini-course for free! All you have to do is leave a review for this podcast on iTunes, take a screenshot, submit the review, and then email me with that screenshot and you shall receive a free part of the course!

Key Points:

  • The inverted U of performance was created in 1908 by psychologists Yerkes and Dobson. On the Y axis it’s the brain’s ability to stay focused. So at the bottom the brain is disorganized and at the top the brain is organized and able to focus. Along the x axis runs the level of stress the brain is under. So you want to be at the top of this inverted U where your brain is at peak levels and we are doing our best work.

  • So imagine the world we live in today. We live in a world made up of man-made stress! Meeting deadlines, public speaking, big caseloads, making it to appointments in time- all these things we just made up. Can you imagine what giraffes would think or zebras would think of us if after running away from the lion or the real threat, our bodies are still pumping out cortisol because we have to give a presentation?

  • First and favorite tip: focus on having two great hours a day. According to neuroscientist Dr. Josh Davies, focus on being great for just two hours a day. The point here is that you can’t be great all day long although we’d like to believe we could be.

Leave a review for this podcast on iTunes, take a screenshot, submit the review, and then email me with that screenshot and you shall receive a free part of my happiness mini-course!

Key Points:

  • My theme for the year is Hustle. Hustle doesn’t mean neglecting self-care. Hustle with the self-care to move forward with my business goals and make sure I’m healthy and happy along the way.

  • My Mantras- I am enough. “Who I am is enough. What I do is enough. And what I have is enough”, and “Don’t give up your dreams for what you want in the moment.”

  • Learn that you do not need permission to be enough. You do not need anyone or anything to fill your life. “I have everything I need.” having that mindset changes your thoughts from lack to abundance.

Leave a review for this podcast on iTunes, take a screenshot, submit the review, and then email me with that screenshot and you shall receive a free part of my happiness mini-course!

Key Points:

  • Although burnout can happen this way, it doesn’t simply result from working too many hours in a high-demand environment. Instead, it is a multidimensional response with many complex causes.

  • We all know that co-worker or ourselves with  stacks of papers on the desk, a to-do list that spans two pages, evaluations, notes, and discharges to write up, and a running around with that sheer look of panic- that was totally me.

  • Low Levels of Hardiness which is a sense of control over events and openness to change, are associated with higher burnout scores. This is the co-worker who thinks everything is out of his hands.

  • Burnout is higher among individuals who have an external locus of control (attributing events and achievements to external events, other people, or to chance). This is the doctor who credits the success of the patient’s recovery to luck.

  • Lack of Appropriate Awards – is associated with burnout, which includes insufficient financial rewards, lack of social rewards, and lack of intrinsic rewards

  • Burnout is an individual experience that is influenced by social, organizational, personality factors, and/or an interaction among all three. The relationship of the individual with their work can be disrupted by any one, or a combination of, these factors resulting in burnout.

  • Each employee’s contribution to the company should be acknowledged. Reward excellent performances with bonuses, awards, and/or promotions. In regards to acknowledging and rewarding, there are different ways in which people like be acknowledged or rewarded. It’s kind of like the love languages. It doesn’t have to cost you a dime to reward an employee or employer.

  • For many, quality face time is the the preferred means of communication. This holds true especially when working with new clients or when starting a new role. Setting up face to face meetings, verbally saying thank you will go a long way.

  • Thoughtful gestures in your field will be sure to not just help you stand out but to also make meaningful connections.

  • Burnout is a common phenomenon that no one is immune to and It is VITAL to structure your work environment so that every employee feels safe, happy, and motivated and has the tools and support they need to succeed.

Revamp Your Joy is a perfect jumpstart for looking at not just the what, but the how. How to protect your mental energy and actually learn about the surprising things that drain you throughout the day- the things I experienced first-hand. It’s such a fun mini-course!

 I show you how to explore the impact of play and concepts of flow and how to find occupations that add flow into your life;  how to tackle your #SundayNightScaries so you can live your life in peace; set boundaries in your life to maximize your joy and decrease the stress signals in your brain; find your just right challenge (what that is) and how to put into action so you can not suffer unsuccessful New Years (or mid-years) Resolutions!


Grawitch, M.J., Ballard, D.W., & Erb, K.R. (2014). To Be Or Not To Be (Stressed): The Critical Role of a Psychologically Healthy Workplace in Effective Stress Management. Stress and Health 31: 264-273

Key Points:

  • Almost every second of every day our brain is bombarded by way too much inf than we can possibly process. What contributes to our survival as a species is all that visual data and auditory data being funneled to a part of your brain called the amygdala.

  • Today, our lions and tigers and bears are the negative stories we see in the news and on social media. Your attention will be drawn to negative news and perhaps 90% of the news we receive is negative for that reason. It gets our attention.

  • The confirmation bias is our tendency to selectively extract info that reaffirms our preexisting notions, which are typically negative so it’s kind of like a negativity cycle.

  • Fear is actually experienced in the conscious mind or the cerebral cortex as an emotion, where we piece together experiences and then label it as an emotion, or maybe categorize it with other experiences that feel similar.

  • It doesn’t really help either that in over the past few years, we are in a sense plagued with this extreme cycle of news omnipresence, which places value shareability over accuracy. The news comes to us- we don’t have to turn on our TV or radio. Between our phones and browsers, most of us are plugged into a nonstop news feed with different opinions and stories and this and that that cater to our specific interests and anxieties.

  • Studies have correlated the hours of news consumption with reported levels of anxiety and fear of specific people. In fact, over time the exposure of anxieties can change your brain.

  • Our goal, in moving forward should be to tease out the real threats and find a balance where we are not terrified that we’re making bad decisions but also not so oblivious that we aren’t protecting ourselves either

Revamp Your Joy is a perfect jumpstart for looking at not just the what, but the how. How to protect your mental energy and actually learn about the surprising things that drain you throughout the day- the things I experienced first-hand. It’s such a fun mini-course!

 I show you how to explore the impact of play and concepts of flow and how to find occupations that add flow into your life;  how to tackle your #SundayNightScaries so you can live your life in peace; set boundaries in your life to maximize your joy and decrease the stress signals in your brain; find your just right challenge (what that is) and how to put into action so you can not suffer unsuccessful New Years (or mid-years) Resolutions!


Key Points:

  • The concept of a disruption in sensory modulation has emerged recently as a “hot-topic” within the field of occupational therapy. There was an increasing interest in this topic in occupational therapy which led to many studies and research.

  • One of the essential elements of self-organization includes the way in which we modulate sensory and motor information. Sensory modulation is part of being a human and is an ongoing process that we often pay little attention to. We receive sensory input all the time ALL day long.

  • Can you imagine being on high-alert and hyper-tuned into every little sound and sight? Or becoming distressed with any touch, whether it’s the clothes you’re wearing or from a hug? Or what if you’re at the other end, where you’re under aware of sensory input? That could look like constantly fidgeting, looking to munch on crunchy or chewy foods, looking for deep pressure by crashing into things or constantly touching or hugging people.

  • As we become more aware of the different strategies we tend to use to organize ourselves, in order to functionally engage in meaningful life activities, we become much more aware of our unique system tendencies and preferences, like our habits, routines, and rituals, that we use to organize ourselves so we can participate in everyday activities.

  • For someone in which all the sensory processing is A OK, little attention is needed in regards to the habitual strategies we use. When you or someone you know has sensory modulation or everything’s not going as it should be, then more attention is needed in order for that person to get to an optimal state of being.

  • People with sensory over-responsivity are more sensitive to sensory stimulation than most people. Their bodies feel sensation too easily or too intensely. They might feel as if they are being constantly bombarded with information.

  • Now people who are under-responsive to sensory stimuli are often quiet and passive, disregarding or not responding to stimuli of the usual intensity available in their sensory environment. They may appear withdrawn, difficult to engage and or self-absorbed because they do not detect the sensory input in their environment.

  • A sensory diet may have nothing to do with what you eat although food suggestions can be included. A “sensory diet” is made up of experiences a person needs in order to self-organize and function everyday.

Grab your sensory freebie and get a sensory toolkit in your inbox so you can give your brain and body the love and input you need!


Key Points:

  • How can anxiety interfere with your occupational performance? If you have anxiety, then you know it gets in the way of just about everything. Anxiety may impact your social participation. You may avoid social situations due to fear of being in an unfamiliar setting, embarrassing yourself, or having a panic attack.

  • Excessive worrying, poor concentration, slowed information processing, and fatigue from anxiety can disrupt daily routines. You may have poor initiation and low motivation

  • At work, anxiety may lead to you avoiding work settings where there is a need to interact with the public and/or the environment is busy and unpredictable.

  • Here are some benefits of how exercise quickly summarized that impacts anxiety reduction in a positive way: increased self-efficacy, experiences of mastery, distraction from anxiety-provoking stimuli, a method of exposure therapy, neurotransmitter changes, peptide changes and changes of self-concept.

  • One study found that both aerobic and non-aerobic exercise increased quality of life vs. no exercise for patients with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Another found beneficial effects of structured exercise in particular running, including anxiety reduction compared with placebo pills in panic disorder in all outcome scales.

  • Yoga has been shown to facilitate slower and deeper respiration, increase oxygen consumption, reduce blood pressure and heart rate, increase muscle tone and blood flow, and improve strength and flexibility.

  • Yoga is for EVERYONE! There is no judgment. Find a class and a level that works for you. I have seen people get frustrated with their progress and compare themselves to more flexible people- but yoga isn’t about that. It’s so beautiful because it’s about yourself and your own progress.

 Grab my LIT UP LIFE 2018 freebie to make the most out of prioritizing your year using a holistic approach, planning in increments, and creating your empowerment statements!


 Gupta-Chugh, N., Baldassarre, F.G., & Vrkljan B.H. (2013). A Systematic Review of Yoga for State Anxiety: Considerations for Occupational Therapy.  Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy 80(3) 150-170.

 Jayakody, K., Gunadasa, S., & Hosker, C. (2014). Exercise for Anxiety Disorders: Systematic Review. Br J Sports Med, 48: 187-196.

 Manincor, M., Bensoussan, A., Smith, C., Fahey, P., & Bourchier, S. (2015). Establishing Key Components of Yoga Interventions for reducing depression and anxiety, and Improving Well-being: a Delphi Method Study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 15:85

Key Points:

  • All SO inspiring. I think every parent should have the talk with their kids on self-love and not letting labels or what others say about your or your body define you. YOU define YOU.

  • We need to focus on our health and make lifestyle choices to support health, with self-love always being the focal point and the foundation in our lives.

  • Health is not about deprivation either, not about eating a salad everyday. I actually hate salads. If I have more treats than usual or more wine than usual like during the holidays or special occasions, i don’t hate myself. I know that that’s called LIFE and i don’t have any shame or guilt around it like how I used to with my disordered eating.

  • Love yourself first and do things from a place of love before you can allow others to love you.

 Revamp Your Joy is a perfect jumpstart for looking at not just the what, but the how. How to protect your mental energy and actually learn about the surprising things that drain you throughout the day- the things I experienced first-hand. It’s such a fun mini-course!

 I show you how to explore the impact of play and concepts of flow and how to find occupations that add flow into your life;  how to tackle your #SundayNightScaries so you can live your life in peace; set boundaries in your life to maximize your joy and decrease the stress signals in your brain; find your just right challenge (what that is) and how to put into action so you can not suffer unsuccessful New Years (or mid-years) Resolutions!

Key Points:

  • When cortisol and epinephrine are released, the liver produces more glucose, a blood sugar that would give you the energy for “fight or flight” in an emergency. For most of you, if you don’t use all of that extra energy, the body is able to reabsorb the blood sugar. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues. Guess what- this can make you hungry!

  • We crave sweet, salty, and high-fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension.” This soothing effect becomes addicting, so every time you’re anxious, you want fattening foods.

  • At the end of a long and crazy day, a big bowl of ice cream or wine can be really appetizing and effective in temporarily soothing our exhausted and stressed selves. This is because eating sugars and fats releases opioids, dopamine and endocannabinoid in our brains, signaling in the limbic system, thereby producing powerful behavioral reinforcement for both acquisition of drugs as well as palatable foods.

  • In the process of stress eating,  attention is shifted away from negative affect or negative self-appraisal towards the immediate stimulus environment (i.e. available foods), thus disinhibiting intake in restrained eaters and promoting overeating in those susceptible to emotional eating. They found that stressed emotional eaters consumed more sweet high-fat foods and a more energy-dense meal than unstressed and non-emotional eaters.

  • Getting deep into your awareness is going to help you stay more conscious and be more involved in making active choices in your life, specifically towards the mindless stress-induced eating.

 Check out the freebies I talked about in today’s episode! Creative ways of de-stressing and your guide to emotional eating. You can find them both here:


 Adam, T.C., Epel, E.S. (2007). Stress, Eating, and the Reward System. Physiology & Behavior 91 (449-458).

 Wallis, D.J., & Hetherington, M.M. (2004). Stress and Eating: The Effects of Ego-Threat and Cognitive Demand on Food Intake in Restrained and Emotional Eaters. Elsevier Ltd.

Key Points:

  • Burnout is a gradual process that builds up over time- sometimes, you don’t even know you’re in it. It can be caused by a mismatch between work and person to some degree which leads to outcomes of disrupted work performance and personal factors.

  • The best way I can describe burnout is having that pit in your stomach of constant dread. It becomes about when too much of your life is draining and not enough is fulfilling, then a sense of hopelessness can take over.

  • Burnout is not the same as depression, because burnout is associated with work and depression can be independent of work. Burnout is also not the same as exhaustion or it’d just be called exhaustion. It includes those other dimensions of cynicism and decreased self-efficacy or feelings of accomplishment.

  • The negative effects of burnout can spill over into every area of life—including your home, work, and social life. Burnout carries a significant weight of hopelessness or powerlessness. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu.

  • Since chronic stress can lead to burnout, stress management techniques can sometimes be helpful in managing burnout, like meditating, deep breathing, spa days, exercise, etc. But that’s only if we can get ourselves to actually do them, which is the challenge, right?

Revamp Your Joy is a perfect jumpstart for looking at not just the what, but the how. How to protect your mental energy and actually learn about the surprising things that drain you throughout the day- the things I experienced first-hand. It’s such a fun mini-course!

I show you how to explore the impact of play and concepts of flow and how to find occupations that add flow into your life;  how to tackle your #SundayNightScaries so you can live your life in peace; set boundaries in your life to maximize your joy and decrease the stress signals in your brain; find your just right challenge (what that is) and how to put into action so you can not suffer unsuccessful New Years (or mid-years) Resolutions!


Luken, M., & Sammons, A. (2016). Systematic review of mindfulness practice for reducing job burnout. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70, 7002250020.

Key Points:

  • In my exploration of stress and burnout, I realize that there are two ends to this spectrum. On one end, you find the stress and burnout, but on the other end, you find self-care, happiness, energy, time to make the most of your life and do things that are meaningful to you.

  • We must really take meaningful and purposeful action to carve out a beautiful life and learn that although we may never be able to fully eliminate stress from our lives, because let’s face it we deal with stress everyday, we can learn how to effectively deal with it.

  • It’s not just enough to not be sad; we must actively pursue happiness. That leads me to believe that taking action to live a more joyful, energized, organized life so we can make the time for the things in our lives that really matter takes more effort than just coasting by on cruise control.

  • But the anxiety really took a hold on me for so much of my career, and I was just getting started! It was like my body didn’t know how to deal when my brain went into fight or flight from all the anxiety and stress, and I frequently threw up because my body was looking something to DO to deal.

  • We all deserve to have a satisfying life. I’m here to speak to employers, businesses, and organizations to really take a look at how we can draw on internal resources but just as importantly, make the change to create a space of security, productivity, fulfillment, and creativity. I’m here because I understand how burnout can leave you depleted, drained, fatigued, feeling low, overwhelmed, scatterbrained, anxiety-ridden, and more. I’m here to bring knowledge from the occupational therapy and occupational science world and from other relevant fields to make a HUGE impact in your life.

Grab my LIT UP LIFE 2018 freebie to make the most out of prioritizing your year using a holistic approach, planning in increments, and creating your empowerment statements!