The good ol’ sand timer, you know the one… the one that never really stops. Whenever you run out of time on one end, it’s time to flip again! That’s basically PT school for ya, well in the bigger picture that’s life for ya. But of course I’m going to focus in on PT school. Actually, I could focus in on this week specifically! Right now as I’m typing this it’s Thursday night, 9:06 PM to be exact, and I realized “Oh crap, you don’t have a blog post ready for tomorrow morning Alyssa!” I want to blame it on how busy I was this week, or the brain fog that took over me and caused me to lose track of what day it is, but really I can just blame it on PT school.
Like I said, this week was hectic. I’m on week two of my second clinical internship and I’m placed at a hospital up in Orlando. So I’ve been crashing on my best friend’s couch and waking up 5:30 AM to start my day all week. But hey, that’s going to be the rest of my life as a PT! Will it always feel like I have a sand timer going over my head? Maybe so, but I can only assume it won’t be quite as hectic as it’s been for this internship so far. I had the same “sand timer experience” during my first clinical rotation last year too. It went away eventually, I just needed some time to adjust. Actually, by the time I truly adjusted the internship was over. Typical!
It may sound like I’m complaining right now, I’m really not! I work well with deadlines, under pressure, and with an end goal. So yes, sometimes once the sand timer runs out like after midterms are finished, or I’ve finished writing a long paper, or a clinical internship is complete it gets automatically flipped by my next to-do item BUT sometimes I flip it myself. For example, once I’m finished writing this post and publishing it for you all to read the sand timer over my head will run out and technically I could relax a bit and take a deep breath but knowing me, I’ll probably flip it back over and focus on the next task at hand right away.
What’s my point here? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with life, with PT school, with work. But it’s so important to let the sand timer sit a bit before you flip it over again. Maybe you use that time before you flip it to treat yourself to a glass (or bottle of wine) or call your mom to chat or go out with friends. Don’t always flip it back right away! Yes, it’s important to keep on track and if you’re like me staying busy keeps you sane but burn out is real. I’m not speaking from experience here but I’d make a pretty strong assumption that never giving your sand timer a break is how burn out happens.
I was super guilty of never giving my sand timer even half a second before flipping during time periods of PT school and those were also the times I drove my body into the ground. I slept awfully because my mind never stopped, I barely ate, I skipped workouts, and made myself sick! I’ve learned now to listen to my body and give it an hour, a night, or a weekend without the sand time floating around. It took a lot of fiddling around to find the perfect mix of work and play but I think I found it. Despite what you may think, PT school is not supposed to be three years of torture! In my case, it might be the best three years to date and I can say that’s because I finally took control of my own sand timer. Take control of yours! Don’t let the timer being done automatically mean it’s time to start a new one, it’s okay to relax. I promise. *Continues sipping wine as I set this post to publish tomorrow morning*