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Jerico Mandybur knows what it’s like to feel burnt out. The spiritual coach, tarot reader, writer and IRL witch was working full-time as an editor and journo, including as Editorial Director at US women’s network Girlboss, until just a couple years ago.

But after repeatedly burning out and ignoring what led her there, she finally decided to make incremental change to her working life, drawing upon her increasingly open interest in spirituality. 

She tells PEDESTRIAN.TV about feeling “completely exhausted and emotionally and spiritually empty, and I was getting kind of sick”. So sick, in fact, that she ended up in hospital in Los Angeles in a critical condition with septicaemia. 

“It really took me a long time to pry myself out of that feeling that you’re on a carousel and you can’t get off,” she says. 

After her wakeup call, Jerico cut down her hours from full- to part-time in editorial, but she also increased her other, spiritual workload – like tarot reading. At the same time she was engaged in a process of recovery, reconnecting with herself, and devoting some time to doing absolutely nothing. 

Due to COVID-19 she was finally forced to go completely freelance and in the last six months, now based in Sydney, she has been able to largely work on her other spiritual business, with the odd copywriting job thrown in to earn a little more dough. 

“I’m so not a believer in quitting your day job in one go and taking a leap,” she says. “That’s maybe what rich people can do, but, for the rest of us, you’ve got to be a little bit more realistic.

“There’s so much smoke and mirrors around what it looks like to find your purpose and to transition into something that is more fulfilling,” she adds. “I’m still slogging it out and finding ways to make money on the side as well.” 

Jerico Mandybur will be explaining that Your Productivity Is Not Your Worth at our virtual self-care fest, Selfish Sessions, running across three arvos from February 24 to 26. 

To prioritise her mental health over being endlessly ‘productive’, Jerico would mindfully incorporate little rituals into her working life. For instance, she’d take a swig of water every time she had to talk out loud in the office. She would even literally set aside calendar time outside of her lunch break to go for a walk outside or sit on the grass under a tree. 

“If someone had seen me they’d be like, ‘What are you doing?’ But who cares? Literally. This is my life. This is my health and my sanity,” she says. 

“I think it’s just being brave enough to treat yourself with the same level of importance as you would treat what you actually do for money.”

Jerico Mandybur finds that a lot of her tarot and spiritual coaching clients come to her with a kind of crisis of ‘purpose’. They’re “freaking out” and asking her what they should be doing with their lives – and that worry has been heightened in the last year by the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Whether it’s that they’re finding that the boundaries between life and work have blurred while WFH, or they’re afraid of being made redundant, or they’ve actually lost their jobs, more and more people are coming to Jerico with what she calls the “millennial problem”. 

“They kind of feel like, Okay, I really need to think about what am I doing with my life. I can’t keep doing this forever.” 

Some people thought that killing it in their careers would bring them a sense of ‘purpose’. But instead, it’s “leading to a lot of burnout and we’re not fulfilled and it’s not what we thought it would be and we don’t know how to say no and we’re terrified of our bosses”, Jerico says. 

As she explains, there’s no real link between being the hardest worker and the person getting the promotions and pay rises. “We’re exhausting ourselves; we’re killing ourselves for nothing sometimes.” 

But Jerico warns that people need to make a distinction between the words ‘purpose’ and ‘career’. Instead she thinks it’s more useful to replace ‘purpose’ with ‘meaning’. 

“If we can find our own value system, what we believe in, what connects us to ourselves, to the people around us, that’s something that we can take with us in any area of our lives,” she offers.

“It makes it a lot easier to work a job that actually doesn’t fulfil you if you’ve made peace with the fact that it’s not your job’s responsibility to fulfil you, it’s yours.”

Instead she suggests people can find meaning in creative projects or in their relationships with other people or from having a full spiritual life.

“I think it’s totally possible no matter what we’re actually doing with our time to have meaning in our lives,” she adds. “I think it’s important to differentiate purpose from career because we’re basically confusing ourselves about where we can find our own happiness.”  

Jerico Mandybur will also be presenting a second session at Selfish Sessions, A Witch’s Guide To Self-Care, which will help people infuse their daily ritual with a little bit of magic.

It’s about taking care of your whole self, including your spiritual side. Spirituality, Jerico explains, is about anything beyond our five senses. “We all value meaning and connection and belief in something greater, holding certain values to be true, no matter what that is.” 

She describes the magic elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water – “like Captain Planet”, she quips – and their associations. “Earth is Body, Air is Mind, Water is Emotion, so Fire is Spirit. [Spirit is] your willpower, your creativity, your intuition, the more spiritual stuff.”

During the session, Jerico is going to offer practical ways to get a little witchy with self-care. “If you can remember those [elements] and cultivate those in one way or another, throughout the day, then you’re looking after yourself as a whole person, rather than just a brain in a jar.” 

Want to see more? Jerico will be talking at Selfish Sessions alongside Dylan Alcott, Brooke Boney, Florence Given and many more. Tickets to all three days are just $20+BF. Head HERE to grab yours. 

Image: Instagram / Jerico Mandybur