Reader Question: How Do You Stay Committed?

From Betsy Johnson: Working among the poor must be very rewarding but it must also be very difficult to stay energized in the midst of human suffering. How do you stay focused and committed and stave off burn-out?

Hi Besty,
As a communications officer, I hear one heartbreakingly horrific story after another. After a while, I get numb to it. I don’t know how much the human brain can take before these stories don’t stick anymore. It’s also all consuming. The stories haunt you. I want to help them get out of their awful situation. I want to fly them to the States and let them stay with my mom who would mother them like you wouldn’t believe. But I can’t. This is all a recipe for burn out.

How do I deal with it? I run. I try to physically exhaust myself in hopes that it will overtake the mental stress. I write in a journal. This helps me get out the stuff that doesn’t make it into the CRS articles I write. And when it all becomes too much, you just step back and put it in perspective: Compared to the people I’m writing about, I have nothing to complain about. Buck up, Lane. You have a good life.

Lane Hartill, Regional Information Officer

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