“Is it Friday yet?” I proclaimed jokingly at 8:45 on Monday morning. Truth be told, I was only half joking. I was already counting down the hours until lunch at which point I would then start counting the hours until the end of the day. More than likely, I would then start counting down the days until the beloved Friday appeared.
I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t alone. I exchanged similar texts with many friends. I considered myself normal. Everyone loves the weekend.
But, I went from looking forward to the weekend to needing the weekend. I would hit this wall on Wednesday that was nearly impossible to get through.
Halfway through Wednesday, I would find myself impatient, annoyed and frustrated. It would take all of my energy not to check out. Feeling exhausted, I would use Wednesday-Friday nights and the weekend as a way to recharge.
I’d watch Netflix, go out, and do anything to take my mind off physical therapy. If I wanted any sort of engagement in my work Monday morning, then I had to distance myself from work whenever possible.
It was shortly after residency that I noticed these feelings growing bigger and less controllable. I reached out to Phil and asked if we could schedule a mentoring meeting.
He was more than happy to and asked that I help him film something for FMS ahead of time. Without knowing what that entailed, I agreed eager to meet.
I spent the first two hours jumping as he filmed an instructional video. Now, I can’t jump on a good day (ask my intramural volleyball teammates), but it was the previous three-month hiatus from all physical activity that was proving problematic. There were more breaks than either of would have liked, plenty of redos, and a non-stop string of profanities on my part (I’m sure on his part too, but he kept them to himself).
The next hour (after I caught my breath), was spent recounting everything that frustrated me. I told him how I couldn’t stand my day to day and didn’t know what to do.
We came to the conclusion that I was burnt out. “Fine, I’m burnt out. So, what do I do?”
“You probably want to start by doing some sort of physical activity,” he told me as if he was telling me the solution to world peace.
“That’s IT???” I pushed back.
“Yup. You need a good foundation” was all he offered.
Mad, I decided I would begin some sort of physical activity purely to prove him wrong. There was no way that this would help me feel less dissatisfied with physical therapy.
But, dammit, it did. I slowly felt some control return to my day as I got back into a workout routine. I found myself going for a run instead of watching Netflix. The mood boost from the run overflowed into my day in clinic. And, the workout routine catalyzed a productive morning and evening routine.
As my burnout began to deteriorate, I could see a glimpse of the love I once had for PT resurfacing. All from “starting some form of physical activity.” Restarting your energy for physical therapy does not need to be some complex process. It can start with our Free Three Day Challenge: What's Next.