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Cue the sound of yogini relaxing.

I didn’t realize how wound up I was about the conference performance until after I finished the last class on Wednesday morning. As soon as I said “Namaste”, I could feel my shoulders letting go. Three nights of not sleeping in a hotel room melted away and I fell asleep in the car on the way back and was very grateful that I wasn’t driving.

Emotionally, I had a lot riding on this conference. It was the Atlantic 9-1-1 conference. I was addressing my professional peer group and it was important to me that I get it right. If nothing else, I’m convinced that the burn out rates that exist in our profession are NOT necessary, and that yoga would go a long way to keeping my colleagues physically, mentally and emotionally strong. I’m as convinced of that as much as I’m aware of breath in my body. The human carnage that comes from unmitigated stress is not necessary. It not necessary for any more people to be destroyed in the name of ‘public service’.

Burnout rate, you say? One of the highlights of the conference was a little retirement bash for Ann C, a co-worker of mine at the Fredericton PSAP. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, and I do know they asked around, Ann will be the first (!) 9-1-1 operator in this region to RETIRE from dispatching as a full career. No kidding, the first! Everyone else has burnt out and moved to other jobs.

Lord knows, I’ve lost enough colleagues to the curse of burnout. It seems to strike the most talented and most dedicated. The ones I’ve lost over the years were the kind of dispatchers you wanted sitting next to you at the opening bells of Armageddon. Too many talented people pressed beyond their capacity to endure the continuing assault of shift work, sedentary work positions and the unpredictable nature of our high-stakes jobs.

I know I was very close to being one of the causalities. Actually, I was. I lost about 5 years of my life to the condition. I’m just grateful I found yoga. I went into my first yoga classes for entirely different reasons but in retrospect, it’s yoga that lead me out of the fog and despair called burnout and back to the realm of joyful living.

Passing on the message that there is hope and LIFE after burnout has become my one woman message. I’m still working on the ways to shout it from the rooftops. I don’t have enough time left on this planet to teach it to everyone but I’m going to work on developing what ever means I need to get the message out to my co-workers.

And there you find my passion — and someday, just as soon as I can arrange it, I’ll be coming to a CommCentre near you.

Thanks for reading and Namaste,



About Kate MacKay

I'm a certified Viniyoga teacher, in Fredericton, NB. I was a 9-1-1 operator and emergency services dispatcher for 22 years. Surprisingly, the two worked well together, or as I liked to put it, from the sublime to the ridiculous -- all in a day's work. I'm currently off work as a result of a stress-induced cardiac condition that's thrown a few crimps in my lifestyle. I'm not actively teaching yoga in the classroom right now and probably won't for several more months. That said, this blog is one of the forms of practice I can do and I thank you for joining me in this exploration of all things yoga.

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