We’ve all heard the golden rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This is obviously a good way to go about life, but often we forget to treat ourselves the way we want to be treated and as well as we treat others.
It’s a common human trait to take better care of others than themselves. People often sacrifice time, money, sleep, resources, etc. to help someone else. It is far less common that someone will sacrifice all of these things to help themselves.
You are more likely to complete a task if someone asks you to do it. Especially when the person who asks you is someone important to you (friend, family member, colleague), you wouldn’t think twice about giving up something to do what is best for someone else. A lot of times, we would rather do things that make others happy instead of what is actually in our own best interest. Maybe we don’t want to be considered selfish?
This is human nature and it is particularly common in healthcare and fitness. Most healthcare providers and coaches are natural givers. We give significant amounts of time and energy to solve problems for other people but don’t do the same for ourselves. This can lead to neglecting your own health and happiness, ultimately leading to burnout.
In healthcare alone, burnout is a serious issue with high rates in doctors, nurses, therapists, and counselors. One study reports that physician burnout costs $4.6 billion per year. Click here to read that study.
Burnout is physical, emotional, and/or mental exhaustion from prolonged and excessive stress. It results in feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, drained, and being unable to complete the constant demands of work and life. This results in negative feelings about work-life balance and reduced efficacy and passion about work.
Burnout is not specific to healthcare professionals and coaches. It can happen to anyone. It does happen to many people. This post is about how to avoid burnout. We want you to commit to taking care of yourself -- mind, body, and soul.
How do we fight burnout? We need to treat ourselves as well as we would treat others. We need to give our bodies what they need.
The current work model absolutely puts an emphasis on working a lot of hours and committing to work more than your own health or family. Even in healthcare, my experience when working for other companies in the past was that calling out for being sick was an inconvenience. A few colleagues may be more compassionate, but the concern is about when I can come back to work (even if not appropriate yet) rather than making sure the employees are taking care of themselves. That being said, we still self-inflict this problem. We need to be better at treating ourselves well.
Think about this...Have you ever met a physician who does not embody health? Have you ever met a coach who doesn’t seem to have an athletic bone in them? Have you ever met a mechanic with a car that barely runs? Have you ever met a banker who stresses about money? The list goes on and on.
We can use our own skills to address what we know. For example, as a physical therapist I can take a step back to look at my health, wellness, performance, and nutrition to see where I’m lacking. Make a plan with regular check-ins with myself. Set short-term and long-term goals. Many physical therapists will not do this for themselves. But the thing is, we do not only have ourselves. We can always hire another PT, a fitness coach, a nutritionist, etc. to help us reach our goals. The important thing is that we are making decisions to take better care of ourselves.
No one knows it all. That’s where having relationships with people who can help you are of the utmost importance. It starts with you. If you don’t seek out people and opportunities to take care of yourself, no one else will.
Since I live in the physical therapy and performance world, what I see most are people neglecting their body by ignoring pain/injuries, not focusing on nutrition, and not dealing with stress. If you are dealing with a nagging pain or injury, feeling burnout, or failing to take care of yourself, then that’s where we can help. We can provide you with the knowledge and resources to give your body the attention it deserves. We can keep you accountable and set a plan for long-term success.
You only get one body. Take care of it.