Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lesson of the Day: Manage Daily Stress

Back to my blog home page: http://travelingotr.blogspot.com

I was a little surprised at myself today when I realized that I had been a real "b" last night when I talked to my twin sister. What I hadn't connected at the time was that I was dreading to start the work week. It was stressing me out!

What has happened?! I've always said I love what I do!

I still do. I just don't always love where I do it.

I asked myself most of the day, "What am I doing here?" when what I really wanted to do was stay home out of the cold rain, put on a pot of chicken soup and roll up in my favorite fuzzy blanket.

This is one of those assignments where you would absolutely not want to be a brand new therapist who took the travel route to make the higher wage.

October 1st was a new day for Medicare changes in skilled nursing facilities.
I am supportive of the change because I believe every government agency should be analyzing how to cut costs. It does, however, put a lot more pressure on therapists in small buildings to manage their patient caseloads with consistency (stressful!). Bottom line: it affects the income to the building.

I'm trying to help my building manage these changes during the two-week absence of the physical therapist.

Ilene is my first patient of the day. I evaluated Ilene the day I arrived in this new building just 3 weeks ago, and since then, she has been my star pupil. She walks down to the therapy room with her walker, back and neck nearly straight, a 180 degree difference from the day I met her. We have worked hard to improve her posture and core strength! Today, she lays a lovely little scarf on the table.

"I donated 30 of these to the building. I love to knit, and they are going to give them to residents who don't have any family members to give them gifts at Christmas. I want you to have this one."

I pick up the scarf. How sweet this lady is. The tension in her stitches is just perfect. I tell her that. I have a keen eye for crafts, having been taught most of them by both of my grandmothers.

"I had an unexpected visit from two of my daughters this weekend, and they could not believe how great I am doing! I walked with them everywhere, even outside. They both noticed how well I can keep my head and shoulders up now. I told them I was doing so well because of you."

I glanced into her eyes, and I saw appreciation.  How did she know this was just what my tentative heart needed today?

I'm lucky because there are amazing older people who tell me every week how much of a difference I make in their lives. Not everyone receives kudos like that in their jobs.

Did you know that dissatisfaction with your job affects your health and the health of your children?

There is a lot of info on the internet about job stress and mental health; job stress and physical health, how to manage job stress, and how to practice stress reduction techniques.

Personally, I like chocolate, hot tea, meditation, a walk on the rocky beach above the ocean, or rubbing my hands with warm lotion, cooking and talking through the tough stuff with a couple trusted friends.

Research and numerous articles list breathwork, yoga, meditation, exercise and sex as good stress relievers. Some blogs discuss leaving jobs that are stressful and dissatisfying.

There's no question that if this was a permanent position, I would be fleeing out the door. I know I am temporary and that I will be leaving here in January. For others who may consider leaving a dissatisfying position, Anuradha Mayer for Excelle has some great advice:

1) Show professionalism no matter what.
2) Transition responsibly.
3) Be a class act.
4) Finish with style.

A nice reminder, I think, for when I may be tempted to say or do something that isn't professional, responsible, classy or stylish....


  1. Great stuff
    take care,

  2. What a great blog! So happy I stumbled upon you.

  3. Thank you for reading! You made me smile on a day in which I've been in tears while packing to leave this assignment. I've turned out to really love this place...Tre

  4. Enjoy ALL of your words of wisdom....so happy that you share. I learn so much!! All the best with your new assignment and looking forward to reading about your experiences!