As a chiropractor, you take care of others…but are you taking care of yourself?
Dedicating your career to helping patients is a noble thing, and while other factors may have led you to the chiropractic path, the outcome is exactly that — helping people. Day in and day out, you use your years of schooling and training, as well as your expertise and accumulated knowledge, to heal those who are hurting.
No matter how proficient you are at your job or how passionate you are about being a chiropractor, it’s normal to get worn down over time. From the long hours and stressful days to the toll that doing manual adjustments can take on your body, being a chiropractor comes with a real set of mental, emotional and physical challenges.
Whether you feel yourself growing weary or have been going full speed for a little too long, taking time to care for yourself is imperative to your health and performance as a doctor of chiropractic. After all, your ability to help your patients is inherently tied to your well-being. That’s why embracing a little self-care is essential.
Why self-care for chiropractors is important
Many chiropractic professionals have no problem stepping away from their practice on occasion. They understand the value of caring for themselves and enjoy the respite of rest, relaxation and a much-needed reset. Others, however, are quite the opposite.
If you’re someone who thrives in your chiropractic position and truly finds fulfillment in your work, it can be difficult to see the benefits of taking time for yourself. Even if self-care does not come naturally to you, the reward of pursuing a better balance is worth the effort.
Remember, self-care doesn’t necessarily mean doing something extravagant or indulgent. Instead, it can be as simple as ensuring that your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health do not stay on the back burner to the point of creating harmful consequences. It can even mean investing in your career development or chasing after ambitious goals you have for your practice.
Take care of yourself to take care of others
Failing to take care of yourself can lead to a decline in your professional performance. From how you communicate with coworkers to the actual services you provide clients, stress and burnout can seriously affect your chiropractic success.
Usually, these negative impacts occur over time, not all at once. This slow build makes it easier to ignore the gradual slip in certain aspects of your professional standards. By preemptively taking care of yourself, you can prevent this deterioration from sneaking up on you and lowering your ability to help your patients and run your practice.
Your health matters
The toll that stress and the physical nature of chiropractic practice can take on you cannot be overstated. It’s a demanding career that, if you’re not careful, can degrade your health. If you aspire to have a long, successful career, you’ll want to take steps — such as self-care — to prevent these factors from wearing you down.
More importantly, the wear and tear of your professional life can spill over into your personal life. If you continuously carry stress, don’t maintain your physical fitness and otherwise let the inevitable burdens of your career overwhelm you, you will be unable to live a long, fulfilling and healthy life outside of your job.
Shift your focus
Your chiropractic career matters. It can make a tremendous positive impact on innumerable lives, provide for your family financially and help you feel fulfilled in life, but that does not mean it’s the end-all and be-all.
Relationships, whether they are with friends, family or loved ones, should supersede your professional life in most instances. If you are constantly pouring everything you have into your chiropractic practice, those relationships can suffer. By finding a better work-life balance, you can benefit those you care about in profound and meaningful ways.
Tips for self-care for DCs
Whether you’re a self-care enthusiast or begrudgingly weighing the potential positives against your natural resistance to the idea, having a direction will help ensure your search for balance is successful. Everyone does self-care in different ways, but there are a handful of tips that nearly every chiropractor can apply to their version of self-care.
Keep it simple
Unlike its portrayal in Hollywood, self-care does not have to include elaborate spa days or luxurious indulgences. Instead, it can be a return to the basics of your well-being. Simple aspects of health can slip through the cracks, so being intentional with your diet, exercise, sleep and interpersonal relationships is often a great place to start your self-care journey.
When the basics of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health fall to the wayside, it is only a matter of time before your life is impacted in a significant way. By ensuring the seemingly simple aspects of your well-being are prioritized, you can maintain healthy personal and professional lives long-term.
Make time for your passions
If being a DC is your passion, that’s fantastic — overlapping your interests and career is a powerful thing few have the privilege to enjoy. Even if this is the case, making time for hobbies outside of your professional responsibilities is key to finding balance and embracing self-care.
Living a well-rounded life is a vital part of the human experience. Dedicate time to creative pursuits, visit a bucket-list location, take your loved one on a date and otherwise take the steps necessary to ensure your chiropractic practice is not overwhelming the other facets of your personality, passion and life.
Remember your “why”
The vast majority of health care professionals — chiropractors included — choose their career path because they want to contribute to something bigger than themselves. If you became a chiropractor to give back to others and help people, rediscovering that motivation and purpose can be a key aspect of your self-care.
By cherishing the work you do and the lives you touch, you can refresh your professional perspective and maintain a healthy outlook. While this tip is tethered to your job as a chiropractor, it is a small way to actively care for yourself in the midst of a busy, stressful work environment.
Taking excellent care of your patients might be the driving purpose behind doing what you do — but you can’t care for your patients without caring for yourself, too. Avoid burnout, injury and fatigue with your career by every so often pausing, taking a breath and refocusing on yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish — especially if the result is being able to help more patients at your practice.
HANNA MARCUS is a writer for Chiropractic Economics.