Friday, November 20, 2015

Road therapy


I did not want to go for a run this morning.

A really bad day at work yesterday led to a sleepless night. I did finally fall asleep, but I woke up early with a headache. After getting the boys off to school and couple of cups of coffee, I put on my running shoes and forced myself out the door.

I always run on my day off, and I had to keep telling myself that I needed this one. In fact, it was a beautiful morning, albeit a little windy and chilly, and I knew that the run would do me good. I needed to work some things out.

I don't normally write about my job. This is, after all, a running blog. One bad day at work does not normally require any kind of deep thought. We all have bad days. Unfortunately, lately there have been a lot of bad days at my work, and not just for me. It's the norm for those of us who work in healthcare. The system has become overburdened by high cost and diminishing resources while we providers continue to try to meet increasing demands of the patients we see. It's become overwhelming.

Yesterday, I cried at work. I cried because I was asked to do something that I felt ill prepared to do, in a very limited time slot. I cried because I was told "you had an opening" (an appointment). I cried because I felt like a warm body. I cried because I felt like I didn't matter. And that the patient didn't matter.

This is not a good place for me to be. This isn't the first time I've been asked to stretch outside of my comfort zone. It's not that I couldn't manage the patient's problems. I just didn't see how I could do a good job, given the situation.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I shouldn't care so much. Maybe I should just do what I can when I can. Except I don't know that I'm capable of pulling back like that. Or that I want to. This is my struggle.

The road has been a reliable therapist for me in the past. Today was no different. While I basked in the sunshine, when I turned into that strong wind, I had to push hard to maintain a steady pace. The wind pushed back. I wanted to give up and go home. It was chilly. It was hard.

But then I turned a corner, and the wind was at my back! The run was fluid and easy! It felt great!

And so went my run. As is life. Yesterday at work, I hit the wall. I didn't quit and I didn't go home. But it didn't feel good. Today, I reflected on that.

When I ran, I didn't get any answers. But I didn't expect to.

What I did get is some calm and peace. Clarity. A reminder that I can persevere. I've trained for and run 3 marathons. I've pushed through the wall. While my job isn't a marathon and I don't know what I'll find on the other side of this wall, I'm not willing to DNF yet.

Until then, I keep on running.



Linking up with Jill Conyers this morning for Fitness Fridays.





79 comments :

  1. So many hugs. And so many thoughts I need to take up running <3 <3

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  2. Ugh. So sorry for your work stresses. It sucks that anyone in healthcare would worry about caring too much. :-( I'm in a period of calm before the storm at work, and the trepidation is starting to nag. I'll be doing my best to run through that storm too!

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  3. Ugh yes seriously always being asked to do more with less! As an OR nurse we are always asked by the surgeons for things they need but then administration tells us it isn't in the budget. It took months (maybe even years) to get enough pump up stools. so much frustration. and we are always training new sterile processing people because they won't pay them more. They always manage to find a better paying job with less stress

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    1. Maybe that's what I need. More pay, less stress. Is there such a thing?

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  4. YES - running has such a smooth way of clearing our minds. Putting one foot in front of the other is such an innate thing to do that we kind of get lost. Without this resource, we all would have expensive therapy bills!! :)

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    1. Who has time for therapy, right? I'd rather run, anyways...

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  5. The best runs happen when your mind doesn't want to run, but your body knows better. And you need to just let your mind take a moment and breathe. I think that is what I miss the most.

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    1. I thought about you as I wrote this. When I'm injured, the thing I miss the most about running is the therapy.

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  6. This the number one reason why I love running. Running always gives you something back, even if it's just clarity. Pushing through even though you don't feel like it is so therapeutic. Loved every line of this post.

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    1. Thank you. No answers, but that calmness after a run makes everything a little better, doesn't it?

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  7. My heart breaks for you. If my children were little, I'd want them in your care, or someone as caring and compassionate as you are. Everything in the work world is bottom line, even the parochial school I work in. While my department could not be better -- the best job I've ever had -- mandates from above have totally destroyed morale in the building. 1,318 days until I retire. Until then, there is running.

    One way or another, your situation will sort itself out; either it will get better or it won't and a new, better opportunity will arise. That is for sure. You have too much to offer for it not to be snapped up by a more compassionate agency. In the meantime, it is good to know that you have a way to find calm and reach Peace. Sending hugs and love your way.

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    1. Lots of low morale here too. I'm going to ride the wave for now. And keep running.

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  8. I needed to read this today. Thank you. Please know you are not alone. Teaching is the same way- they expect you to work MIRACLES with little time and little resources. How??? And we personally hold ourselves to such high standards and feel bad when we don't do something as well as we wanted to, but given the time constraints, etc, how could we possibly???

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    1. Glad (I guess) to hear that I'm not alone. I can see how people develop apathy at their jobs. It's tough.

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    2. Yeah, I definitely have days where it is easier to NOT care than to care.

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  9. It's nice to have a place to vent and I am sure it is really frustrating to feel like you are given an assignment that is out of your scope. I would feel so anxious and undervalued if that happened. I am sure you handled it like a pro. Hope you have a better day today.

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  10. Running is a life saver for me. I get done with work at 3 in the afternoon and run before I get home. I'm so lucky to have this break in my day to pound out some frustration. God Bless you for the job you do. I can't imagine the frustration you went through. Run Happy! :-)

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  11. Running can help us in life in so many ways. Even though you don't have the answers yet, going for a run is such a great way to find clarity. I'm sorry you've had a rough time lately.

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    1. Me too! I love my job, but it's taking a toll on me!

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  12. ** Big Hugs **

    Running is the best therapy...and I NEED a good session.

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  13. I love this and running is totally therapeutic for me some days. As a future healthcare practitioner (future OT!) I totally am expecting days like this, especially with productivity demands. It's comforting to know I'll always have running!

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    1. Healthcare has high rewards but high demands for providers. The trick is to find balance. Its' always a work in progress.

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  14. I completely relate to this Wendy... I feel like this often at work.... trying to see and address 28 patients' needs in one day at 15 min per patient is in a way a daily marathon, and it makes me think that I don't like doing what I do... but that is not the problem. I do love peds and families,...what I hate and can't do is the time constraints of rushing through rather than having the time to actually hear and talk and connect with people.... at some point it may lead to a burnout....until then I'll keep going .... At some point we will all burnout, and they'll have to change the system...it's not sustainable.... hand in there.

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    1. Oh for sure I'm not alone in this! My physician partners are all on board with me. We're really struggling right now. It's a tough time to be in healthcare.

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  15. Beautifully articulated, my friend. As Oprah says, running is a perfect metaphor for life. Sorry work is being such an a'hole to you lately. xo

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    1. Hoping it will turn the corner after the first of the year!

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  16. Hey isn't it National Hug a runner today? I think so.... Here is your Hug my friend! Remember running is cheaper than therapy! Also I'm gonna stir the pot and see if I can make you jealous or get a smile from ya. I'm gonna get to see Katie tonight! ;) Anything ya want me to ask her?

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    1. I'm taking that hug, and sending one back to you and one for Katie too! I'm asking for a photo of you guys...<3

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  17. Thank you for being so open. I know how hard it can be to admit to the world that things aren't perfect, so I really appreciate this post. I'm glad running can be a bright light for you. It may not solve all the problems, but it's something you can enjoy no matter what. Sending good vibes your way!

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  18. Aww, sorry work has been a struggle lately. Hopefully things will get better.

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    1. Me too! It's all about balance. I'm looking for that right now.

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  19. I found your venting a very well written read. I am not sure that sounds like I want it to, but I mean in the most complimentary way.
    Sometimes we just need to cry, it is stress relief. You can't control a lot of factors, but crying and regrouping gives you a chance to tackle the issues in a different frame of mind. I am glad you had that therapeutic run! Bless those endorphins...

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    1. I'm so grateful for the endorphins! If nothing else, I got that chance to regroup.

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  20. Oh and I am loving the tweaked layout! Great header :)

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    1. Thank you! It's still a work in progress...

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  21. Sending you so many hugs. Some of my close friends from college are nurses and they are so overextended, both in terms of work and emotions. I can't imagine what a tough job it is you do, but I admire your toughness and compassion so much. Running is such an incredible therapy - sometimes sweat is of an effective emotional release than tears!

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    1. I'm always amazed at how much better I feel after a run. Especially when it takes every ounce I have to push myself out the door!

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  22. I totally understand not talking much about work on the blog! But it was very interesting to hear your perspective on how the industry has been changing and how much of an impact it is having on folks. I'm really sorry to hear you had such a bad day. I've been in your shoes before, too, where I've broken down and cried at work. But kudos to you for fighting on unconditionally. Great job on getting out for a run today, despite being sleep-deprived and not feeling it. I am really glad to hear it made you feel so much better! BIG HUGS!!!

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    1. That run did make me feel better. And today I had plenty of patients to remind me why it is I keep going back for more.

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  23. This was a great post. I'm sorry you had a rough day at work. I totally understand the feeling of just needing to go for a run to release anxiety and just be present.

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  24. Running is the best therapy! I hope things get better at work for you, that kind of frustration is so draining/damaging.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head. When do you decide enough is enough?

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  25. Major props to you Wendy - working in healthcare isn't easy and I can't even imagine the stress you're under.

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    1. It's been a tough fall. Thankful for the run!

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  26. I feel your pain, healthcare is a beast! I have had better weeks too or better months I should say...... like you said we always have the road :) Have a great weekend!

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  27. Great post - and so too. It's wonderful to be able to "run off" those days!

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  28. The road is a great place to work out your stresses and problems. Hope things get better for you at work.

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  29. I"m so sorry you're going through a tough time. I've been there and it wasn't pretty. I now realize that with that tough time [and alot of yoga] I've found a brilliant clarity and a purpose. Boom! The clarity didn't happen overnight and I have/had an eating disorder to prove it. You will find that clarity Wendy. I promise.

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    1. I love the direction you're following. I don't always feel like I'm doing good at my job. But yesterday I had a good day. It's really a roller coaster ride.

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  30. As a nurse I understand exactly how you feel. Working in healthcare is trying these days, especially when you are always asked to do more. I too turn to the road for therapy so it is killing me I can't run right now and biking just doesn't do it for me....Hope your work days get better!

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    1. Lots of ups and downs with this profession!

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  31. Sorry to hear about your tough day at work. I had a terrible night sleep on Thursday night and was grumpy Friday morning. I had speedwork on the calendar and wasn't feeling it. However, after a session on the track I felt great, mood improved, and ready to deal with my day. Hope things get better at work (or you at least have some rewarding days to make up for the crappy parts).

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    1. Speedwork always makes me happy! There's nothing like running fast to get all that stress burned off!

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  32. That is something that I love about running. The road never lies or tells you things you don't want to hear. It doesn't talk back and it's a great listener! Hope things at work smooth out!

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    1. Me too! I really do love what I do...but that clashes with what is happening in the world of healthcare.

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  33. Beautifully written. Running is the best form of therapy and I am so glad you got to get out there and find a little bit of peace. I'm sorry you had a hard day. I hope you get great rest this weekend that things will be better on Monday. xo

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    1. There's always peace on the run. Bottom line, it's why we do it.

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  34. Sometimes I think running may not be the solve it all problem fixer, but the one thing it does do is allows us to relax a little, step back and take our mind off things for a while, so when we get done with the run and go back to life, we can approach things differently and look at them with a difference perspective.
    So happy you were able to find the clarity you needed for your life right now! Running really is a great thing, isn't it!

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    1. It's nice to be able to go for a run and take a little bit of time out of the day for myself! It's the best thing.

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  35. Oh, I can so relate. While I work for a health system, not necessarily in the health care field, per se (I'm a social worker at a health center in a school) I understand being stretched beyond limits and feeling taken advantage of because I have an opening. It's a stressful time of year for families too, which adds to the challenge. Hang in there!! There has to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully work gets better soon!

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    1. I hope it gets better too! Glad to know that you get it.

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  36. I'm sorry to hear you're having such a tough time at work. It sounds like you're in a difficult situation there. Sending you positive thoughts.

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  37. Sorry to hear you're having such a tough time at work! It's so hard when our ability to do our nibs to the best of our abilities us limited by other people. The way you positioned training for and running a marathon to life was beautiful. Sending you big hugs!

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    1. I am so grateful I can run off my stress. I do so much "therapy" on the run.

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  38. We all have bad days at work. When that happens I try to think about the good days I have had and why I like my job. I got to the point where I HAD to change. Else it would have sucked me in and pulled me down. I think I got out just in time.

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    1. That's exactly what I told my husband that evening. That either I have to change, or I have to get out. I'm going to give it until after the new year--some changes are coming which are "supposed" to make things better. We'll see.

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  39. Uggh, I feel for you. I hate my job with a passion right now and I feel like I'm stuck and can't get out. I hope it gets better for you!

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    1. Sticking it out for a couple more months. Waiting to see if the changes they're promising actually make a difference.

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