New Year's Day I took a time out. I looked at all the things waiting to be done and ignored every one of them. I was tired. I needed a break. Instead of doing things I had to do, I did things I wanted to do. I came to a realization. The day needs to have more than 24 hours in it if I want to accomplish everything and still have time to sleep. Americans are chronically tired and overworked. An entire industry of blessedly strong coffee on demand is thriving because of it. Because of the demands of our job, therapists are feeling this on a daily basis.
The profession of Physical Therapy has unique requirements. CEUs must be earned regularly. Skills must constantly be kept up to date. Reimbursement regulations are constantly changing and need to be followed. APTA members are encouraged to attend district meetings, state meetings, combined section meetings, become involved with the organization and donate to the foundation when we have a moment. I'm taking online classes in geriatrics. Sometimes I need to seriously think about the DPT. Whether I agree with it or not it's the reality and it's here to stay. In the course of a normal workday there are meetings, families, phone calls and documentation all demanding attention. In Houston we have the added obstacle of the commute. An average drive can easily be an hour one way. That's time spend in the car not getting anything done. All of this happens before I get home. My respite for the day is riding and working with my horses. Then I go home and simultaneously must let the dog out, greet the cat and free the bird from his cage. I can't imagine what it would be like to have children. My hat is off to those that do.
Other ADVANCE blogs have touched on this. I need to examine my life and organize my priorities. If something isn't necessary, it isn't a priority. What is important to me? The answer to that question is the basis of the decisions I make. Sometimes we forget that. It's easy to get caught up in things and lose sight of what is important. I need to step back from overachievement and be happy with being good at what I do. If I relax and do my job the day usually goes smoother. By nature PTs are overachievers. That's what got us here in the first place. It's also what gets us into trouble.
I'll be a better therapist if I take care of myself. That means remembering my priorities and following them. I must learn to say "no" more. It's a simple word of two letters and just one syllable. Yet "no" is one of the hardest words to say. Work is only a job. It isn't me. Life is what happens outside of work. My life is me. I want to spend time with my horses. It's up to me to make that happen. I may not make many changes in my life. Maybe I'll just take more days for myself and do what I want to do instead of what I have to do.