Wellfie Wednesday Tip #87: Get Out of Your Circle

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week is brought to you by Patrick, (@TheFuelPhysio) and warning, it seem like bit of a rant.

     In the world (circle) of physical therapy, this past week was a big deal, we had our Combined Sections Meeting in New Orleans, LA, where over 17,000 PTs, PTA, and students poured into the city. With over 340 educational sessions and hundreds of expo venders spread over 3 facilities, there was certainly a lot going on downtown. But this was the problem that I and two other clinicians came to realize. Everyone was where they were “suppose to be.” Gathered around other clinicians, in their circle, learning and inspiring how to make change on the outside, but in a way just “talking” about making change on the outside.

     What Jerry Durham, F Scott Fiel, and I came to realize is that we need to get outside of circle. And it wasn’t a hypothetical thought. We actually left the conference. We uber’d to a local chili cook off that we had learned about through other local involvements and dove into that community’s circle. We ate their chili, we danced to their live music, and we supported their fundraising efforts. And man were our eyes opened. This is how conferences should be done!

     Our professions invade cities and communities, and yes we help their tourism and hospitality industries, but what about those underserved populations? The children? The homeless? This is where we need to go, especially those of us within the healthcare field. Quit talking about being on the outside and get out there!

     And this concept of getting outside of your circle is much larger than a conference; it can be applicable to our own daily lives. Think of yourself or your immediate circle of family and friends. Do you explore outside of your circle? Are you experiencing life beyond what you know to exist?

     Next year's conference will certainly be different; and the wheels are already turning to make that happen. But make the change in your own circle too. See what else is out there. Learn and grow from others you wouldn’t normally interact with.

     Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt@kuhnalyssa_spt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew


Wellfie Wednesday Tip #67: It's Good to be Good

Happy #WellfieWednesday! This week’s post is brought to you by Aaron (@AaronPerezPT).

     Today’s post is inspired by many current events. I just returned from a week in Haiti providing medical services with STAND: The Haiti Project. It was an amazing experience to say the least. I’d call it “once in a lifetime”, but something tells me I’ll be back. October is also Physical Therapy month, and this Saturday October 14th is Global PT Day of Service #PTDOS. Amidst these caring, altruistic efforts there are ongoing tragedies necessitating more volunteerism and service. Events like Puerto Rico’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Irma, the recent Las Vegas massacre, and Napa fires. So, let’s explore the health benefits of giving. 


     There is some interesting science to support President Lincoln’s religion. Dr. Steven Post is a leading researcher on this topic and his 2011 open access article provides some great insight. It appears that acts of kindness can improve happiness, health, and even longevity. One study found that recovering alcoholics who helped others with their recovery nearly doubled the likelihood of successful sobriety over a one-year period compared to those who were not helping others. Similarly, people experiencing chronic pain have reported decreasing levels of pain, disability, and depression when they served as peer volunteers to others struggling with chronic pain. In a 2010 survey, the large majority of American adults who volunteered reported numerous health benefits including improved physical health and well-being, increased fulfilment, less stress and anxiety, greater resilience, better sleep, stronger social connections, and improved self-efficacy. That sounds like quite the return on investment. However, these benefits should not serve as primary motives for helping others and are certainly not guaranteed. Nonetheless, genuine benevolence is a powerful act for all parties involved. 


     There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Doing altruistic work can be overdone. Compassion fatigue and burnout among those caring for others daily are not unusual. Detrimental consequences can include severe stress, poor sleep, disrupted cognitive function, distancing from social connections, professional attrition, and depression. The “right amount” of altruism will vary from person to person and depend on several factors. This message resonates with me personally as a healthcare provider. I think the “helper's high” is lost in the day-to-day grind of helping patients through distressful situations on a daily basis. Add unwanted layers of administrative burden such as excessive documentation onto the situation, and it begins to feel more laborious and less joyful. I think it can be helpful to breaks from daily routine. Sometimes this means disconnecting from altruism to make time for yourself. It might be a full vacation, or it may just be a brief moment in your day to take a breath. Occasionally, it may mean reconnecting with meaning and purpose through sincere altruism. That’s what I feel I experienced over the past week volunteering with STAND: The Haiti Project, and I’m grateful for it. Although there was a healthy dose of disconnecting on the trip too, lots of fun.

     At the end of the day, we all need to help ourselves. And one powerful way to do that is through helping others. I hope you find some ways to do so that bring you meaning and happiness. Have an awesome week! 

     And thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew