Planning and Breathing Through Compassion Fatigue ft. Juleta Severson-Baker

This poem received an honorable mention in the Compassion Fatigue Art Contest which ran from December 2020-January 2021. In the poet’s words, “The first words of this poem are from an email I received advertising a webinar to help teachers combat the fatigue of 2020 through planning to achieve work-life balance. Just reading the email made me feel fatigued! The main body of my poem speaks to my evolving understanding of, and experience with, compassion fatigue. I decided to record it on a Friday night after a long week of teaching, wearing a sweatshirt, in my bedroom, to mirror the environment to which I’ve often retreated over the last 9 months when feeling empty and fatigued. The poem ends with the breath. Mindfulness, deep self-care, and attending to the healing nature of the breath are what I see as some of the keys to combatting compassion fatigue.”

The poet, Juleta, is a Werklund School of Education alumna, a full-time teacher at the Calgary Arts Academy, and has a published anthology of poems called Incarnate (2013).