Tips to Avoid Burnout!

…as a Student and as a Clinician

With all of the stress of exams/practicals/presentations, I unfortunately, developed very unhealthy habits in PT school. There were days when I wouldn’t eat or weeks when I wouldn’t even wash my hair. I had no drive to work out and ignored phone calls from close friends. I would completely close myself off and I suffered from it, physically, emotionally and mentally.

As a practicing clinician, I still have days in which the weight of hearing about everyone else’s problems/pain, dealing with high productivity standards, and working with not-so friendly coworkers takes a toll. Read on the find a list dedicated to those of you dealing with stress either inside the classroom or in the clinic!

Students, remember to…

  • Give yourself study breaks! I always tried to study in 45-60 minute blocks with 15-20 minute mental breaks. It helped me to retain the information better and gave me time to snack!
  • Make time to MOVE! Your mental and physical health go hand-in-hand. A 30 minute workout is better than sitting at a computer desk for hours. Release some stress and exercise!
  • Talk to your friends. Having friends outside of the classroom can be a way to take your mind off of the stress from school. Good friends know just what to say to get you out of a slump and back on track.

Clinicians, remember to…

  • Leave work at work! Sometimes patient’s disabilities and declining health can affect us on a personal level. Try to set boundaries while also providing the best care that you can.
  • Start each day with a positive affirmation! This was something I began during my first assignment. I would stress myself out over things I didn’t know as a new grad. So, I would start each day by saying “Today is going to be a great day and I’ll learn something new.” It changed how I viewed the assignment dramatically.
  • Take more trips! As a travel PT, I try to take a trip every three months. It really gives me something to look forward to at the end of a contract. Whether it be a weekend or a week, use that time to relieve any stress and live in the moment. Travel makes the heart happy!

This is a very short list, but the main take-away is to remember that your mental health is just as important as passing that exam or providing the best care. What would you add? Leave a comment!

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