It's Vacation Time
I'm writing this blog a few weeks ahead of time as I start getting my work done and preparing for a weeklong vacation. I need it. My last vacation was for our honeymoon more than a year ago, and I was sick the entire trip. I'm very much looking forward to a week with no cell phone, no email and no work. My husband and I (along with four of our friends) are taking a cruise to the Caribbean.
While we're gone, we're missing the Presidential election. I got my absentee ballot this week and will mail it in tomorrow. Part of me is a little disappointed that I won't be able to watch the coverage and continue following the impact the election will have on healthcare. Part of me is glad I won't be consumed in all of the publicity.
As I start preparing for my vacation at work, I'm shuffling a lot of patients to other therapists' schedules and reducing some of their frequencies from 2-3x/week to 1-2x/week. That's probably the hardest part of taking a vacation for me -- knowing that my patients will not get the rehab they need while I'm away. My coworkers have a full schedule of their own and it isn't possible for them to absorb many of my patients. Part of me feels guilty that I should be at work helping those patients get better, and thinking that my leaving may extend the amount of time they're in rehab.
The better part of me knows I need a break. If I don't take one, I'll be burnt out quickly. I hear from a lot of therapists about how exhausted they are and how that exhaustion impacts the quality of care they provide. Therapists need breaks. Our jobs are physically, intellectually and emotionally demanding. Our days are busy.
Our cruise is seven days long and I think I need that much time to unwind and be able to completely relax. When I've taken long weekends before (taking a Thursday or Friday off), I think I'm doing myself a favor but in all reality it's not enough time to separate myself from work and shift to relaxation.
What about you? How many vacations do you take each year? Have you ever gotten to a point where you were "burnt out?" What are the best strategies to avoid reaching that point?