Today, ladies and gentlemen I’m going to tell you a scary story.
Remember when you were so incredibly passionate about studying and graduating as an Osteopath? You went out into the world and set up shop. You grafted, marketed, got endless referrals and then one day you looked in the mirror and some tired, stressed and, quite frankly, knackered old reflection looked back at you.
How did your passion for osteopathy turn into stress, burnout and even physical illness? Where did it all go wrong? You set out to improve the quality of life for your patients but somehow it’s as if you’ve hoovered up their combined conditions and drawn them into yourself. No one wants to live like this huh?
I’ve had several conversations with Osteopaths in the last week where they’re either young and working at full stretch, with no capacity left to give anything to anyone at home; or after endless years of working up to a staggering 60-80 hours a week, they’ve been forced by ill health to dramatically cut their working hours in order to try and get better.
I must say that I’m so shocked by this discovery. I’m sure that nobody sets out in life to build a business that ultimately destroys them. Especially in the health sector! So I’ve come up with a few tips which, when implemented, will help to keep that distance between other people’s illness and your own good health.
Creating boundaries can help to keep yourself protected and prevent overwhelm because blurred lines between practitioner and patient can cause you to take in some of their dis-ease. This profession, by its very nature, is very empathic but taking on the woes of the world is ultimately stressful to your system. Using your uniform as your armour will keep that little bit of distance between you and the patient and his ills.
If you find that you tend to start feeling exhausted after many patients back to back, then it’s critical to build in half hour breaks at the point where you usually begin to feel tired. Block those periods out in your diary and give yourself a break. Take a rest yourself or go out for some fresh air and a brisk walk to remove any stress build up.
Keep your clinic clinical! Family pictures and too many chats about your social life can erode the patient/practitioner boundary and cause you to care about them more than is healthy. That sounds harsh I know but that is the only way to protect you from becoming emotionally involved with countless people every month and ultimately eroding your own wellness.
You can use breathing exercises to eliminate any build up of stress. I am also a Pranic Healer and this is what we do to remain grounded. Sit upright and comfortably with both feet on the floor, forearms resting on your thighs with palms facing upwards. With your eyes and mouth closed, allow your tongue to rest on the palate. Relax, then breathe the 7/11 rhythm through your nose which is breathing in slowly to the count of 7 and then breathing out further to the count of 11. That’s an excellent exercise in grounding yourself which you can do in as little as five minutes.
I have lots of other tips up my sleeve as well as ideas to keep a better balance between your work and home life. Take a look at my strategy calls here – they’re already helping Osteopaths to start running their business rather than their business running them… into the ground.