Earlier this evening I (in the midst of not wanting to see the Blue Jays get decimated again) had a good thread discussion with a colleague on Facebook. Out of respect to my colleague I won’t elaborate on any specifics – but it made me think a lot about how us health & fitness professionals want to be everything to everyone.
Whether you’re a personal trainer/strength coach who works long days 5-7 days a week training clients or a rehab professional who deals with people in pain and/or with various health conditions … it’s tough either way. Those of you who are reading this are likely motivated, Type A’s who all have an intense drive to improve and help all of our clients. Those are fantastic qualities.
But at the same time we have to understand that our time, money and wallet are limited resources. Professional burnout is pretty common in both the rehab and fitness industries. As such we have to take care of ourselves and "pay ourselves first" to quote Stan “the Rhino” Efferding.
Side note: I thank Stan Efferding for helping me get on track with better balancing my professional career and my powerlifting career. Yes the picture is faded as my phone cam was dying but I don’t care.
Some bits of advice that I’ve stuck to (and given to others) are…
1) To reference Stan again – you can be good at anything but you can’t be good at everything. Do you know anyone who’s great at orthopedic physical therapy, strength & conditioning, sprint coaching, bodybuilding, nutrition, pediatric physical therapy and ICU rehab? Me neither.
The older I get the more I stick to the areas that I’m knowledgeable in and ask experts (or refer out if needed) for the other stuff.
2) Have an idea how many hours you can work in a week and recover from. This may require trial & error.
I saw a FB thread where Jarod Hall (whom I love BTW) asked how many non-clinical hours people put in. While it’s a great question I had visions of it turning into a contest pretty quickly. Working 100 hour weeks isn’t helpful if you burn out in a month.
3) Doing the simple stuff like
- Getting 6-7+ hours of sleep a night
- Taking 1.5-2 hours 1-2x a week to prep healthy meals
- Getting some exercise most days of the week
… can all go a long way
4) Being organized is a lifesaver. When I worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Waterloo I had every hour of my day scheduled. I use Google Calendar as well as a To Do List app (en.todoist.com) that I have synced on my phone and my laptop to record tasks that need to be done & schedule them appropriately. I also found this helped me with not overcommitting myself and giving myself some down time.
I hope this provides some useful tips for you.