Ep.44 Stop Health Provider Burn Out
Let’s talk about something that isn’t addressed as often as it should be and can easily happen with health service providers…Burnout.
Are you feeling burned out right now? Are you feeling like you’re getting close to it, or you are very aware that it’s possible for you to get to the place where you feel burned out?
If that’s you and you’re feeling burned out because you are doing one-to-one, while trying to juggle running and growing your business, managing a team, assistant or another healthcare provider that works for you, developing new programs, being an expert in your field, as well as doing this one-to-one work.
This can get exhausting fast AND you are not alone. So many of us hit this point.
Today, I’m not talking about money, your offers, your programs, your products, or your marketing – I’m talking about what you are going to do about feeling burned out and how to avoid it.
Here’s what I talked about:
- Taking control of health service provider burnout (it starts by looking at your business model!)
- How to start delegating (what do you not have the brainpower for anymore that you can just let go of?)
- What I realized about vacation and what I’m doing differently (after not taking one at all for 3 years!)
- How I changed my workweek (it’s the day-to-day and the week-to-week that matters!)
With the action steps I give you, you can stop the cycle of feeling burned out or avoid getting there. By taking the time now to make these changes, you can build your health practice so you can go from feeling exhausting to feeling excited again – and continue to make the impact on health that you’ve always wanted.
If you enjoyed this podcast, you may enjoy these 3 other podcast episodes about setting up your ideal business:
Prefer reading? Here’s the transcript below
Stephanie: Burnout. Let’s talk about it. What you doing with that burnout? Are you feeling burned out right now? Are you feeling like you’re getting close to it, or perhaps it’s something on your mind that you’re not there yet, but you are very aware that it’s possible for you to get to the place where you feel burned out?
One-to-one service practitioners, providers, health professionals are the number one people who spend all their time and decades of their career doing this kind of work, right? Whether you are a mental health professional and therapist … you’re all right, buddy. Whether you are a mental health professional, like a psychologist or a therapist, you’re a dietitian, a pelvic floor therapist, whether you’re a doctor or a nurse, whatever you do in the healthcare system, we start doing one-to-one. We do internships where we train to do one-to-one.
We learn all about these clinical skills of assessment and treatment, and we plan on spending a career, a lifetime, working one-to-one with clients, and for some of us early on, we kind of think, “Is that what I’m going to do?”
I know when I was doing my internship, I was actually doing a master’s degree at the University of Toronto that had a combined internship. I knew from the beginning I did not want to do a lot of one-to-one work. I wanted to do more actually working for industry, business, food business, and group programming, that kind of stuff.
When I started, I started in one-to-one client work because that’s where so many of us begin our careers, and I actually really loved for a little while working one-to-one with my clients in the digestive health world, and impacting them, and changing their lives, and reducing symptoms of IBS. It was such fun work, so I did get into it, but I did know very early on.
I’m saying that because you may either have gotten into this job loving working with people, wanting to make an impact, and not really realizing that burnout was going to happen to you, and that you can’t spend decades of your life working 40 hours a week, seeing client after client after client. It’s exhausting.
Or you were like me, where early on you were like, “I wonder what kind of creative, little role I’m going to make for myself and where I’m going to get into work, and what things I’m going to try.” You may have had a gut reaction in the beginning that said, “Well, I’m not sure I want to do one-to-one forever until I die.”
No matter where you are, we’re all together on this. We get into this for the love of the industry, and then we kind of at some point figure out, “Wow, I can only see so many clients in a day, and I can see only so many clients in a week.”
As you start to run your business, you realize in order to grow, you have to see less clients, and so perhaps you start seeing clients like three days a week, or even two days a week. I talked to someone recently who is working 25 hours of client care still and running a business full-time, which is so much. I can’t even imagine.
I never went above, about 12 to 14 patients a week. That’s all I could manage when I worked for myself. When I worked for someone else, oh my goodness, I would have six or seven people a day, and then I’d have to go home and go to bed because it was just so much.
So we get into this place where we start growing our business, where you’ve gotten, where you’re growing and you’re realizing, “Oh shoot, I’m the only one doing this. There’s other tasks I have to do, other tools I need to buy.” As we grow, we add on money that we spend for marketing, or we spend on advisors, or coaches, or tools, technology or staff. Our one-to-one hours may be reduced.
So many people are still doing that one-to-one service work on an ongoing basis. If that’s you and you’re kind of feeling burned out because all you do is one-to-one now, where you’re trying to juggle running your business and growing your business, with managing a team, maybe an assistant, maybe another healthcare provider that works for you, developing new programs, being an expert in your field, as well as doing this one-to-one work, this can get exhausting fast.
Again, you are not alone. So many of us hit this point. I have a client who is a sex therapist, and she runs a very successful clinic where she works with, I think she has eight to 10 staff that work under her, and we just chatted recently about her team.
I talk about this all the time with people who are managing a team, or working with dietitians underneath them, or even on their own saying, “Okay. We get to a point in our careers, maybe we do this for five years or 10 years, maybe even longer.” I’m trying to think who I’ve talked to who has done this the longest, maybe 15 years, 20 years even. Wherever you are and you hit this wall real quick one day, boom and feel, “Wow, I can’t keep doing this. I am burned out.”
The #1 Question We Need to Ask Ourselves
This is a lot of work, and so I want to challenge you today, first, to tell you you’re not alone in feeling this way, but secondly, to ask you, “What are you going to do about it, really and honestly?” Let’s not talk about the money today. Let’s not talk about your offers, or your programs, or your products, or your marketing. I love talking about all that stuff. We can talk about that another day, but today, let’s talk about what you are going to do about that, honestly.
Don’t get freaked out and stop listening, don’t get overwhelmed and hit pause. Hang out with me a little bit longer. This is not a long episode, but it is an important question that I really want to ask you. I know that I’m sitting in my podcast recording room, looking at a microphone, talking into a microphone, and you’re not physically in the room with me, but I think you can tell in my voice that I can see you. I can feel you. I know that you’re right here, and if you’re listening to this, I know you are.
I’m the kind of person who, even though I’m alone in this room recording this, I can feel you and see you and hear you that you are there, so I am truly speaking to you today and asking you this question, “What are you going to do about the overworked, overspent, burned out nature of being a health provider? What are you going to do about it?”
If you can make a plan today, an idea today to build out a business model that works for you, why not? Why not start now? You are going to be less likely to get to burnout, or you’re going to spend less time trying to sit in this burnout awful feeling, trying to manage it if you sit down today and you answer this question.
The answer is look at your business model. How can it change? We can put our business owner hat on and say, “Okay. I’ve gotten myself to this place. I’ve gotten success,” whatever your definition of success is. Maybe you’ve been able to quit your full-time job and you work for yourself exclusively. Maybe you have a waitlist of clients to work with you. Maybe you’ve grown your team and you have three people that work with you right now. Maybe you’ve published a book or you’re a sought-after speaker. Whatever your piece of success is, fantastic. Congratulations. You’re here.
What needs to change moving forward? The next decade of your life, so the next 10 years is not spent juggling and feeling burned out, and being worried about money. If you don’t sell and you don’t work, you’re not going to make money. How can we look at your business model and the services you provide, the products that you deliver, the programs you have, the staffing model you have, the prices you charge, all these things that contribute to your business model?
Which is the model of your business, what you sell and how you operate and who you are? How can we build a business model that is going to prevent burnout, that is going to allow you to take care of yourself? There’s lots of things that are going to come into play here.
There are lots of different scenarios, lots of different businesses that you can build or different ideas you may have. Fantastic. None of them is wrong. Where the problem lies is putting all your energy and all your time into one-to-one client care, and that’s where the burnout happens.
Now, beyond that, burnout can still happen. I’m someone who has been running online programs exclusively since 2015. I did have a staff that worked for me that was doing one-to-one, so I was managing staff. I would say probably more like 2016 is when we didn’t take any one-to-one clients, and anyone that’s worked with me since then has helped me to manage, maintain and deliver programming.
Even in the world of running online, digital group programming, you can still get burned out. There’s speaking opportunities at conferences, writing books…I have a podcast. There’s all kinds of content that needs to be created, managing a team and growing. There’s so many things that play a role no matter what your job is.
So first start with a business model, “What is my business model? What are the numbers? What kinds of things am I providing? How am I going to not keep working 25 hours a week with clients or 40 hours a week with all this management work or more than that? How am I going to change my business model?”
Just like I shared with you, my business model is group programming. I do some one-to-one counseling and coaching as well. I take a small number of clients, but I can still get burned out.
Looking At Your Day-to-Day
So next, after we look at your business model, the next thing to do is to look at your work day, and your work week, and the things that you need to take care of yourself. The things that you need to put in place to prevent burnout. It could be going for a swim every morning, or going for a walk at the end of the day, meditating at lunchtime. It could be taking more breaks, instead of sitting in front of your computer for three hours while you work. There’s a lot of different things, and that can change your weekday, and only you know what you need.
Maybe it’s vacation time. I didn’t take a vacation for like three years. Then we took a vacation last year, and it was terrible because I couldn’t relax because I hadn’t take a vacation for three years. Maybe it’s more vacation time, travel time or downtime in your week.
Here’s the thing about vacation, for me anyways, I can share with you that not taking a vacation and grinding my butt off every day of the week, each week, and then getting to vacation does not work for me. Because on that vacation, I cannot relax, right? It’s just too black and white, and so what I’ve learned and what I’ve applied in the last 18 months or so is a better day-to-day and a better week-to-week. This is what I think.
You can disagree with me if you want, and those vacations are still important. You don’t want to not do vacations, so those vacation weeks and knowing how much vacation time you need are still important. So not just vacation time, but what in the day-to-day, the week-to-week matters.
If it’s helpful, I can share with you what I’ve changed, but know in the last 18 months, that I have looked at the day-to-day, the week-to-week and realized that’s the problem. I have also created a new human, and so David is almost 18 months old. So it was when I was pregnant with him that we went on holidays and I had worked so hard for three years, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is not working.” That was a big wake-up call for me. Know, I also have been this mom of a young infant as well, which is challenging. Has its own kind of exhaustion to it, right?
A couple things that I’ve done in the last 18 months are, one, we hired a nanny. We hired a person to help in our home. So again, I have that business model, right? That’s over here. That’s great. That’s been that way for a while, but then, in the day-to-day, taking care of kids, sure, that’s hard.
You can get in-laws, you can get family, you can get daycare, whatever, but our nanny is in our home, so that’s really convenient and lovely. Childcare is one thing, but our nanny is so incredibly helpful and a real part of the family, and that’s who we wanted to hire. She works nine hours a day, so 8:00 to 5:00 currently, and she helps with groceries, with errands, with Costco, with meal prep, with cleaning, with laundry.
She helps with all the things that when I had my first babe in daycare were still my responsibility and there still so much I had to do. So I’d drop him off at 8:30, I’d work all day, I’d barely breathe, I’d pick him up at 5:00, I’d bring him home and I’d still do dinner. My husband and I would do laundry, we do cleaning, or we had a cleaner that would come every couple of weeks, but we still had to tidy. Having a cleaner that comes every couple of weeks is so wonderful, but also just a little bit helpful, because you still have to clean all the time in between the cleaner, and oh my gosh, it’s exhausting. Then laundry, my goodness, and groceries, it’s another full-time job.
So I knew I wanted to work and my husband wanted to work, and so we brought in Christie, our nanny last September when David was two months old. I saw lots of David and I was breastfeeding. I was probably just back to work maybe part-time or so, and also making time to take care of myself as a mom of a two-month old, breastfeeding and taking naps. But having that person in our house to help with some household tasks has been a huge game-changer.
I know that it’s investment of money. We take a big chunk of our money and we pay this full-time employee, but the difference that it allows me and my husband to be able to breathe, to be able to enjoy our children at night or on the weekends, and to be able to be present in work and not be thinking about all these things I have to do is incredibly powerful. That’s one thing that I’ve put into my life.
Another thing that’s happened really more so in the last six months or so, I would say is I have this real …what would you call it where I can sit down and just work the entire day, and not eat food for five hours, and then it’s 3:30. All of a sudden, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t peed, I haven’t refilled my water bottle, I haven’t eaten food,” because I just get down and I want to get stuff done, and I work and work and work until it gets done.
Can you connect to that? Can you relate to that? Do you kind of do that sometimes? Oh my gosh, and it always feels like there’s something to do, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it always feel like you have 10 more things you want to do in your business? As soon as you get that freebie up on your website, or as soon as you hire one more person, or as soon as you get this new tool that’s going to save you time, this new booking tool or whatever, then it’ll be better.
How I Changed My Workweek
Well, I’ve been saying that since day one. I remember when I said that seven years ago, or however many years ago it was. I remember the exact thought of, “As soon as I get my web developer to put this one thing up on my website, and back then, it was newsletter, as soon as I can get my newsletter started, as soon as I can start collecting emails on my newsletter, then I’ll feel better.” I just remember that moment.
Can you connect to a moment that you remember some kind of thought very clearly about, “As soon as I fill in the blank, then I’ll feel better, I’ll work less, I’ll take a break, I won’t push myself through lunch?”
Anyways, I remember that thought and I’m reminded of that thought often because it’s not true, so anytime I’m like, “As soon as I do this next launch or as soon as I get this sales page up…..,” because I still do it seven years later, I remind myself, “It is not true, you are lying to yourself, so change things now.”
In the last six months, I have changed my entire work week. What that means is I joined a gym, like a local gym. I’m not a gym girl though, and so it was hard for me to do, but I’m a swimmer. So I swim now Monday mornings and Thursday mornings, which means my day starts later. Because I have these little babies running around, I can’t just go to the gym at 5:00 in the morning, and so I’m tired. I’m too tired for that. Good for you if you go to gym at 5:00 in the morning. You are a hero. I have a one-year old, so that’s not possible for me yet.
Anyways, I go to the gym on Mondays and Thursday and I go for a swim. Oh, it feels so good on my body, to shower, and there’s no babies running around. Then I get probably into my work day around 10:30 or 11:00, depending on the day, and I work until about 4:00 or 4:30, something like that. So I have a little more than a half day or about a half day, Mondays and Thursdays. Then Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I have more of a full day, so I would say somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30 start time, until about 4:00, 4:30.
Again, those days are like maybe seven hours or something like that, and that is when I teach my classes. I see my clients and I do one-to-one client care. I might do clarity calls or discovery calls, or coaching calls or whatever. It’s when I talk to people. It’s when I see people. It’s when I put makeup on. It’s when I show up and I’m active, and I fill my day with those appointments, and it’s wonderful, and I actually love doing it back-to-back.
On Monday, I like to kind of wind into my week, and so I don’t see any people on Monday. I usually don’t put makeup on unless I have to. I’m doing more administrative stuff, and planning stuff, and marketing and some connections and things like that, podcast recording, all of that. Then, on Thursday, again, a lot of those tasks. Sometimes there’s some people, but preferably not. Again, not because I don’t love people. I love people.
Oh my gosh, sometimes I’m lonely working for myself, and I want more people. I want to go to more parties. I want to see you guys in real life, and I do. I go to conferences and I do different things, but people all the time burn you out really well. So for me, I’ve realized that, so Monday and Thursday are those half days where I do more administrative work. I don’t usually see people then unless I have to, and then Tuesdays, Wednesdays are those for me.
Guess what Friday is? Whatever it needs to be. All summer, I had Friday off. I just gave it to myself off for fun, and then I just kind of continued that. Now it has become not a day off, but more of a, “Good morning, Friday. What do I need today?”
If I need to go and record a couple of podcasts, I will, only if it feels good to my soul though. If I need to go for another swim or do a yoga class, I will. If I need to go shopping, I will. If I need to go sit at a coffee shop, I will. If I need to meet up with a friend, I will. So Friday is now this open day, potentially some work if it needs to get done, a call or something. Preferably no people again though. Preferably just work that needs to get done or social time or that kind of thing.
I’m trying to balance out being a mom of young kids as well, so some of us might not do that on Friday. Maybe we do that on Saturday or Sunday because you don’t have young kids that you’re dedicating your weekends to. For me, my kids are in school or with childcare, and so I don’t see them. So for me, the weekend is 100% dedicated to them, and we do activities, and we go swimming, and we do all the things. But I’m present with them, and sometimes we just sit on the couch and watch movies, you know, and that’s that. So I realized that I needed some me-time because there was kid-time and there was work time, and it was a real hustle, and so that’s where Friday came in. Fabulous Friday.
Those are my changes, and I share that with you because maybe it’s inspiring or motivating. Maybe you like some of it. Maybe you can take some of it for your own. Maybe you can say, “You know what, Stephanie, I don’t like how you do that, but I would like to do it this way.”
Sometimes seeing other people’s stuff isn’t just because you want the exact same thing, but it also allows you to see, “Well, a half day on Monday morning wouldn’t work for me. I need to go to work at 9:00 AM on Monday. I need to hit the ground running on Monday, but Tuesday or Wednesday, I could do a half day. That might feel good, or maybe you can go do exercise in the morning, or maybe you’re more of like an exercise at lunch person,” so that’s where you’re at. It’s also winter here and freezing, so Lord, it’s a little different in the summer. It’s easier to go outside for a walk or a bike ride, and so that might shift and change.
Taking Control of Health Service Provider Burnout
The point is, we are going to take control of service provider burnout today, right? Remember, I’m looking at you, I see you. We’re going to take control of it. We’re going to ask, “What am I doing? What am I going to do about this real thing that is a one-to-one service provider burnout? What am I going to do about it?”
“Can I look at my career, at my business model and my clinic model, whatever I’m running?” Whatever you own, whether it’s a clinic or whatever kind of business or practice you own? What’s your business model there? Can that change? How can that change? What do you need help with to figure out a different business model that will prevent burnout?
Then, the third part is, “What’s my day-to-day like? What’s my week-to-week like? Am I taking care of myself on a daily and weekly basis so I’m not overworking myself ongoing? Even if I have the business model, because remember, Stephanie has had the business model since 2016. Even if I have the business model of not sacrificing my soul to hours and hours of one-to-one coaching constantly every day, even if I’m not doing that, great, business model check, what am I doing day-to-day? What am I doing on weekdays, evenings, weekends?”
“Where can I bring in support for my family, for my household tasks?” What kind of pieces can you build in to support you and your family? Listen, if you love cooking, keep cooking. Oh my gosh, I used to love cooking. I have a culinary training.
I mean, I used to teach cooking and I used to teach how to teach cooking, and love cooking. Right now is a time in my life when I cannot, I do not have the brain cells to put on what’s for dinner and go make a risotto for an hour. Oh, part of me would love to. I like just stirring rice and cheese together, but I just don’t have the brainpower for it.
So for you, what do you not have the brainpower for anymore that you can just let go of? Give it to someone else, delegate it. I know it’s an investment of money, trust me. I do it, but that’s going to change your life. It’s going to give you more room to feel good. You don’t have to supplement all of that with just work time because the work you do will get better and can be more strategic when you feel refreshed, when you feel good, and remember, going back to that business model. We’re creating a business model that makes money without tons and tons of one-to-one hours, so there is a business model part of it.
What can you do in that home life? What can you delegate? What tools can you use? What humans can you use? Where can you get support and help. And then what does your day-to-day, week-to-week look like in your work? Do you take Fridays off? Do you take a half day? Are you exercising every day or every week? Are you lightening the load? Do you need to delegate and hire an assistant?
I talk about this with my clients often, is delegating and growing a business, especially past $50K, you need people. I had people before I hit $50K. Like you need help, and so we talked about this a lot in The Leveraged Practice and with all of my clients about delegating.
Even if you hired someone for five hours a week, you can do that. You can find a virtual assistant, a VA, or a local assistant, whatever, and hire someone for five hours a week. Even that could impact you so significantly and take something that feels really heavy, some kind of job or task that you don’t need to do off your plate so that you can either take better care of yourself so you don’t burnout, or do more money-making tasks and grow your business. Totally up to you about how you use that time.
A quick, quick, quick summary. I know I did like kind of a long summary. One, “What are you doing about that burnout?”. Two, “What is your business model need to do? How does it need to change?”. And three, “What does your day-to-day look like in your business? What does it look like? Can you get help with it?” “Can you delegate? What needs to change about your day-to-day so you’re taking care of yourself, you’re not burning your own self out, and you’re not being a bad boss to yourself, burning yourself out?” All right? Those are three real practical questions. I want you to answer them today, right now.
Go off, take some time, really think about it, write it in your journal, send me a message on Instagram @TheLeveragedPractice or on Facebook. You can find me, Stephanie N Clairmont. That’s my name on Facebook, or find me on my website. Shoot me an email. I want to hear from you.
What are you doing with these things? How are you changing the future? How are you going to avoid burnout or stop burnout right now? If I can be of any help anytime, you know where to find me. The Leveraged Practice program is open for enrollment. If you’re listening to this the day it comes out, we are open for enrollment, so if you need help with that business model part and creating online group programs to shift you away from one-to-one, you send me a message right now. You send me an email right now.
Let’s chat about it and see how I can help, all right? Thank you so much for joining me today for this podcast episode. I hope this was really helpful. I’m here to challenge you a little bit, but I’m here to love and support on you too, so know you can reach out to me anytime. I would love to hear the answers to those questions, and I’ll meet you back here next time.