As a therapist, you care about your patients (thank you, captain obvious). But it’s this helpful nature that’s often responsible for stress, frustration, and even career burnout. When things get rough, you might find yourself internalizing patient progress—or lack thereof. Additionally, you might feel like you have to constantly fill the “therapist” role, even when you’re not in the clinic. Plus, you’re under pressure to answer tons of questions thrown your way on a daily basis from your techs, patients, and even front office staff. And that’s just what you face while at work. As you walk through your front door after a 10-hour day, getting asked “What’s for dinner?” might just be enough to send your mind into a frenzied state. Spaghetti or takeout? Nobody knows.
Understandably, it’s hard to stay mentally—and physically—refreshed while working in such a demanding profession, and it’s definitely not for lack of caring about your job, family, or patients. In fact, it’s the opposite. But if you’re feeling drained from working long hours and constantly running over your list of to-dos, here are some things you can do to remedy burnout:
In the Clinic
- Schedule breaks. If you don’t block it off, it won’t happen.
- Go to lunch with your employees to celebrate your successes, and chat about how things are going in the clinic from their perspective.
- To break up the routine, schedule both long and short days—or plan a few three-day weekends.
- Document while you’re with your patients to avoid playing catchup later.
- Take advantage of slow times in the clinic to take a breather.
- Use a new skill or method to treat a routine injury.
- Change your perspective. If possible, treat at a new table, or walk around the clinic while your patients are performing their exercises for a new point-of-view.
- Get organized so you can take on the day without extra stress.
- Stick to your breaks. Really, go back to number one, and then stick to the schedule.
- Branch out into a new specialty (e.g., peds, hospital setting, or sports therapy)
- Create goals and evaluate your progress regularly.
- Have a kudos wall that showcases your patients’ thank you notes.
- Exercise. This one’s a biggie. Your profession is all about being healthy—that includes you. If you don’t exercise for your physical state, do it for your mental well-being.
- Power down. Unplug your electronics, and enjoy spending some mindful time with your family and friends.
- Write for industry publications and blogs. Writing will require some research and reflection as your broaden your reach.
- Get out of town. Take a vacation. Even if it’s only for a day trip, you’ll appreciate the change in scenery.
- Follow industry blogs. Staying informed on what’s going on in your profession helps you feel empowered and knowledgable.
- Celebrate your successes—whether that’s helping your patients achieve noteworthy progress or going to bed at a decent hour.
In the Classroom
- Earn CEUs. Learning is a lifelong endeavor, and having the knowledge to apply the newest evidence-based treatments is exciting.
- Think outside of the “norm” by signing up for an unfamiliar CEU course.
- Teach at a college. You have the chance to inspire and influence future therapists.
- Ask to guest lecture at a local college with a rehab therapy program.
In the Community
- Network. Developing relationships with your rehab therapy peers can boost morale.
- Volunteer in your community. This shift in perspective can help you remember why you help others—and that you really do make an impact, whether or not a paycheck is involved.
- Join your state and national organizations.
- Attend a conference.
- Branch out into home health, which offers flexibility that might better suit your work style.
- Get involved in LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook groups.
- Meet with your profession’s policy makers. You can help shape legislation that affects your career.
I hope when you find yourself feeling the heat, you’ll be able to cool off with some of these tips. Need more help? Tune into today’s webinar; you’ll learn how to beat the burnout through effective time management. Register here. Can’t make the live version? No worries. When you register, we’ll automatically send you the recorded version and accompanying slides as soon as they’re available.