Cancer Education Center

The Stephen and Barbara Slaggie Cancer Education Center is closed for walk-in assistance and group classes to avoid transmission risk during COVID-19. Staff are available by appointment only. To schedule, call 507-266-2991 or email

See “MORE” to find recordings and classes typically offered within the Cancer Education Center in Rochester, MN. Topics include Reducing Fatigue, Moving Forward After Cancer, Nutrition and Cancer, Physical Activity, Stress Management and more!

Nov 19, 2019

Don't Push Yourself to the Point of Burnout

By Megan Roessler M. Ed., @meganroessler

shutterstock_1385815337Article contributed by oncologist Edward T. Creagan, M. D.

Resiliency, stress, and burnout have become common topics in the corporate community.

Resiliency means that bounce back factor, that inner strength to overcome adversity, suit up, and get back into the arena despite the setbacks. Burnout has really reached epidemic proportions. So what do you do about this?

Everyone recognizes the importance of reasonable time management, which is actually self-management. But let me share with you the rest of the story.

Several close family acquaintances are commercial airline pilots. As part of mandatory training, at least once a year they go to corporate headquarters to be updated on technical aspects of navigation and also on the psychology and physiology of travel.

They shared compelling data that to be cognitively restored, you may well need one day of rest and recuperation for every time zone of travel. This isn't science fiction. This is real.

Professional opportunities and obligations afforded me the opportunity to travel to Europe recently for an intense two-week tour involving five major cities and multiple contacts with professional and civilian colleagues. It was rewarding yet emotionally draining, especially exposure to some aspects of the Holocaust.

The flight from Western Europe back to Minnesota was approximately eight hours with travel through several time zones. That means approximately seven days to get back on target. Instead, you push the envelope and pretend you're not tired. What can you do?

  • Set one day of recovery for every time zone means exactly that. If you're not up to speed, you make mistakes. For example, I typically put my car keys in my valise. While preparing for a presentation and walking to the venue, I didn't do this. Guess what? When I got to my car that evening, the keys had disappeared. I hadn't followed my routine. Later, I found the keys.
  • You're creatures of habit. You have a normal circadian rhythm, and you need to be aware of time zone changes.
  • You need to recognize that if you're not physically fit prior to such trips, your recovery may be protracted and extended.

So the bottom line is clear: You're mortal. You can only push yourself so far before your ability to function at a high level becomes impaired.

Whether you are changing time zones or just under pressure and may be approaching burnout, what do you do prevent burnout?

Chat with others on ways you are managing cancer symptoms in the Cancer: Managing Symptoms group.

I agree with all that you have said. We were in the Foreign Service and circled the globe four times by planes…exhausting. Barbara Evans – Oberlin, Ohio

Liked by Lisa Lucier


I am Barbara Evans husband, Gordon Evans. We share the same e-mail and Connect account. I cough about 30 times each day. I believe it may come from two sources:1. a sinus nasal drip or 2. a slightly open repaired hiatal hernia. Can the nasal drip be corrected? I have never smoked. What do you think. Any thoughts on how I may reduce the coughing? I am 87 years old and live at Kendal@Oberlin, a retirement center with my spouse. We have been married 66 years. A recent x-ray of the chest revealed only a slight opening of the hiatal hernia. Many thanks.

Please login or register to post a reply.

Invite Others

Send an email to invite people you know to join the Cancer Education Center page.

Please login or register to send an invite.