Empathy for You in Uncertain Times

Barbara Bray
6 min readJun 7, 2023

We are living in an uncertain world especially now during this pandemic. This crisis impacts how we handle what we do and how we react to stress. Empathy for ourselves matters.

Stress is when you have multiple pressures that demand too much of you psychologically and physically. When you are stressed, you may believe that if you can just get everything under control, you will feel better. Stress involves “too much.” Stress can be perceived as negative if we don’t know how to react to that stress. There are signs that the stress you believe you cannot handle may be leading you toward burnout.

Being burned out means feeling empty, without any motivation, and beyond caring about what happens to you. When you experience burnout, you often don’t see any hope of positive change in your situation. Burnout means “not enough” or cannot cope anymore.

Table 7.1 Stress vs. Burnout (From page 116 in Define Your Why)

Serveyev, A. (2019). 16 Important Signs You Are Heading for Burnout

I know I’ve felt “too much” many days and “not enough” more than I would like. I’ve heard this from teachers, parents, and students. Yes, we lived through a worldwide crisis, and no one has ever dealt with a situation like this in over 100 years. The pandemic changed us.

Everyone in the whole world is living with uncertainty since this pandemic. Educators who are stressed or possibly burned out told me that they are not able to balance work and home. There seems to be more on their plate than ever before. Their own children have been impacted. Because they are teachers, they feel responsible for their learning. During the height of the pandemic, they were asked to teach face-to-face without the proper safety procedures in place. Or they were asked to teach a hybrid version that adds even more stress. No wonder there is a teacher shortage now.

Breathe. All of us need to pause and breathe.

I read Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead and have been following her for years. What…



Barbara Bray

Story Weaver ~ Podcast host ~ Author “Define Your WHY” ~ Co-author 2 books on Making Learning Personal ~ Author "Grow Your Why" ~ New Podcast "Real Talk"