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Fuelling resiliency

Do you find yourself emotionally spent at the end of your treatment day? Is it hard to drag yourself to the clinic the next morning? Are you able to leave the frustration of a bad commute in your car when you walk into the treatment room?

April 18, 2017  By Beth Barberree

We all want to do the best for our patients. In order to do that we need to act as good leaders, guiding and encouraging their wellness. However, sometimes this is easier said than done.

How you recover from daily challenges in your personal and professional life could affect quality of care you provide, and thus, patient outcomes and repeat business. One component of good leadership is the ability to be resilient. You know who these people are. They’re the ones who seem to recover more quickly from unfortunate circumstances or bad luck. However, resiliency is not an innate character trait that you either have or you don’t. Rather, resiliency can be learned.

Resiliency is not about being tenacious enough to push through when you’re at your wits end; it’s about being able to recognize when you approach that point and take action to replenish yourself. Have you ever noticed how differently you feel about doing something at the end of the day that you really enjoy doing versus one that you really dislike and don’t want to do? Pause for a moment and think about how you feel in each of those situations.

What energizes one person could very well deplete another, so we need to get to know ourselves and be familiar with what fuels us and what drains us.


Marilyn Orr, an executive coach andmauthor, used the analogy of a gas tank to describe variations in people’s energy. Try this visualization exercise: Picture a tank where the level of the fluid inside represents your current energy level. Now, think about your typical day. Consider the activities you generally engage in. What is happening to the fluid level of your tank as you complete these tasks? What is depleting your tank? What fills it?

This is a useful strategy to identify the reasons why you might be lacking energy. If you see your tank depleting throughout the day and little replenishment, it becomes easy to understand why you might have low energy. The good news is that with practice, you can become more efficient at recognizing when your tank gets empty.

Of course, it’s not as simple as merely avoiding all things that empty our tanks rather than fill them. We can learn to improve our resiliency and approach a place that has better balance. How many times have we chosen to continue on a path that’s draining us just because we’d chosen it at some time prior to now? Choose a different path, one that fills your tank rather than depletes it.

So, now that you have a tool to evaluate how an activity affects your energy levels, here are a few ideas of how you might boost your energy and resilience.

  • Simplify your life. Figure out what you need versus what you want. Are you working to live or living to work? Would you survive just fine if you had less “stuff”?
  • Take actual vacations. Do you continue to manage your patient bookings while you’re away, or do you unplug?
  • Integrate more reflection and introspection into your lifestyle. While doing something seemingly mindless (gardening or cleaning out the garage), have you ever had an epiphany about a patient who has plateaued? Allowing for free flow of thoughts without a rigid structure can generate solutions.
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously. Undue pressure on yourself can drain your tank rapidly. No one is perfect, so be as gracious with yourself as you are with your friends and family. This is captured beautifully in a YouTube video titled, Benjamin Zander Rule No. 6.  

The choice is yours. You can incorporate things that fuel you and boost your resiliency. This will actively combat that mental and emotional fatigue that can come with our line of work.

When we’re at our best, we are most able to be fully attentive and present when treating our patients. Good outcomes make for good business.

Beth Barberree began her massage therapy career in 1995, achieved a psychology degree in 2011, and a master’s degree in leadership-health in 2016. She has also been involved in various boards, conferences, planning summits, working groups and committees. Beth now consults for organizations requiring governance, strategic planning and change management support.

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