Growing up in Baltimore, I remember the Maryland Marathon, whose original route came very close to my childhood home. Experienced marathon runners say there is a point in every race where they hit physical and/or emotional feelings of fatigue so strong they threaten to prematurely end their run. Runners affectionately call this point in most races 'the wall'.
The wall hits many runners even those with advanced training. The wall on the original Maryland Marathon route occurred right after the half way mark. It was the result of a long, slowly rising and winding hilly monster called Satyr Hill Road. Today Satyr Hill Road hasn't changed one bit, other than I wouldn't dare try to ride a bike up it like I did as a teen.
After Satyr Hill, the runners headed back to Perring Parkway, a flat road that led to the finishing line in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Runners knew that if they could get through Satyr Hill, chances are they could finish the race.Does this story remind you of yourself? I know it reminds me of times in my life and work.
Just like me, you have worked long and hard for many years, providing a very high level of service to your clients, and likely your co-workers and/or staff as well. We're known as great bosses to work for and you probably treat your co-workers whoever they are as family.Now however, as you move into the later years of your career after age 50 you find...
All of the above leads you to find yourself at a crossroads
- you have developed one or more chronic health issues (some no doubt created by the stresses and strains of your work)
- you need more time to rest and recover physically and mentally from your work
- you recognize you need to pay more attention to self care. You can't drive yourself as much as you did when you were young.
: you need to find ways to both work at the level you can (likely less than 40 hours a week) AND create enough income to be able to continue to live the life you are living. You are single, the sole breadwinner or are a member of a dual income couple and need to make a reliable income.You are facing that proverbial marathon runner's wall.How do you survive the wall and find a new pace that helps you finish the race well?
While most of us aren't disabled, most of us are contending with one or more physical and/or emotional health problems that sap our energy, our concentration and other abilities we need to do our work well. We are stuck in the middle in that way. We aren't burned out either, other than the fatigue factor, which is probably more a function of the specific medical
problem(s) we have, such as thyroid, overweight, auto-immune, etc. problems. We are careful to NOT be so imbalanced in our work like some of our medical peers (who are so status quo they don't realize their burnout or compassion fatigue). We prevent our burnout without ever getting that low.
The truth is...We're still able to work, but not as many hours as we used to. We are still as compassionate and empathic and effective as ever, we just have less energy due to the changes illness and aging have wrought. Unlike many of our peers, who we can't respect given their ignorance to the toll their ways are taking on themselves and their patients or clients. They don't 'get' how much they've sold their souls to those 'golden handcuffs' at the price of my respect at least (not that they care!).We are suffering because the system of care is itself suffering...
Today's health care system isn't welcoming to our needs as workers in that system. Heck, we aren't supposed to have needs, we're supposed to totally subsume ours. And, we know all of this is creating a 'system of care' that is barely functional for it's patients. I've worked for private practices that wanted you to come in and stare straight ahead and work, work, work without a healthy work environment. And with no time to do all the documentation required so we end up typing during sessions with a computer between us and the client. How wonderful!
Whether we are doctors, nurses, mental health professionals or respiratory therapists, we feel the pressure to be invincible, to never share a weakness. To run like a machine!
However, let's not ever forget that the machine is churning us up - all the time expecting more of us and giving less back. Thus, in a time when various business costs are rising rapidly, we often find our income in the traditional private practice setting isn't keeping pace.
Many of us have also had a variety of issues happen during our careers - family illness, child rearing, the great recession, a failed business, layoff(s) and on and on - that has led us to have very little saved for retirement, even after the age of 50.
Perhaps you haven't had an opportunity to do much saving for retirement.
I was reading an online article the other day by a financial expert. He was talking about those who never had children and remarked that perhaps those who didn't never got 'serious' about saving money. To me that was an insult:
especially as a single income household. There is a discrimination common in our culture called singlism: where people think single people have it easier. Not so. If you are a single health care professional, I 'feel you', as I am too. We have to run our households and our careers, without help. It's not easy.Chances are if you've found your way here, I understand what you crave at this time in your life. We share the same desire for a simpler, less hectic and more balanced life now. In fact it's not just a want, simpler, more nourishing life is what we need, if we are to continue to survive, much less than thrive.
In fact, having a healthier-for-me, more balanced life is not just a want, it's become a need
as my body has been telling me I must pay attention more to it and slow down, take better care, recharge, etc. My body, whether I want it to or not, is not a machine. It's flesh and blood. My body doesn't bounce back as quickly as it once did. But that doesn't mean I am any less capable of working and living to my fullest potential, including still giving lots back to my work and loved ones.And I don't know about you but I have no role models for this life stage.
My mom is/was a housewife. Me on the other hand? I am one of those women who never married. In fact, integral to my story is that I realized in my teens - in the late 1970's - that I was gay. That decision has shaped so much about my challenges in living my life, most specifically that I've always had to depend on myself for the most part. I have no spousal health insurance or other support to lean on!
To be totally transparent, I had two sometimes - and in some ways - supportive girlfriends earlier on in my adulthood, but ultimately where the rubber met the road was me! Both relationships taught me so much by also taking so much away from
me LOL! To date I've been single over a decade now and for me, in that decade, it's become easier creating a life that works for me. I do want to share a my life with someone else again some day, but I won't settle. We must be compatible enough.
I am also not like some of my lesbian sisters. I am not psychologically 'wired' to compete in the work world like those who are good at business or science or math. My brain is more feminine in what I am good at career-wise: I'm a healer. I am a caretaker. Meaning: not valued enough leading to lower salaries. I have a straight sister, for example, who I kid and say 'you are like dad' because she is a hard driving physician.
And now the impact of technology. I note in my field some of the younger therapists find creating a practice that utilizes technology easier. Those folks I like. And there are those using tech to beat others over the head. Those practitioners I stay away from as much s I can.And no one else understands this like we do. Look at me
: I have worked since I was 12 when I had a paper route! Compared to my stress-filled life, my mom in her 50's was in her 'empty nest' phase, helping one of my sisters with the grand kids. Me, it was work 40 or more hours a week, year after year, more traditionally like the men in my family.
And add to that the fact others often have no empathy for our struggles. If we share them we are told "well it was your choice to not marry" or "it was your choice to choose the career you did". All the while, many don't get that women make less than men and that many didn't choose not to be married either. And that we choose a career based on what we are naturally good at and like, it just so happens society has decided to undervalue that career because traditionally it was 'women's work'.
I have been supporting myself financially most of my adult life. I've not had the benefit of dual income and girl, in my fifties, the stress on my body has caught up. The dual income thing has become increasingly important as prices for things like housing and health insurance have literally skyrocketed. While more of us are living alone, the price of doing so is higher than ever.
In addition we are naturally become a bit less active than we were say, 15-20 years ago. And yet, the workplace has continued in many corners to become leaner and meaner, leading to a higher risk of burnout.So, even if you never retire fully, one thing you have recently discovered about yourself is that your priorities and energy levels have changed. While you engage fully in work when you do it, it's easier to leave it behind and engage fully outside of work as well.
Next thing you know however, you're no longer in that stage of life. You feel the transition, it's here. You can't go all day and night like you used to, without consequence. You find you need to take more care of your mental and physical health. And, yet, you still need to generate a decent income and save for retirement. Whether you are never married/choosing to be single, divorced, widowed, single or LGBTQ, you can't rest on your laurels of past success.
Additionally, social and economic forces in today's world mean housing is high, health care is high, and you worry how you will keep up.
All of this makes you realize you aren't willing and shouldn't if you want to maintain your level of health, succumb to the pressure of today's inflexible work schedules, unreasonable bosses and terrible traffic jams. And yet, that is what it takes in today's world to just survive in the corporate world, let alone thrive. Luckily with advances in technology there are other options. I know there are, because I've been in your shoes and felt the pressure to conform. And yet, I can't. My health won't let me.Sound familiar?
So like other times in my life I'm 'in transition'. Each transition in my life has been challenging, and each I've survived. Whether it was leaving home at 18 prematurely before finishing college or making it through the trials of grad school or grieving both of my long term relationships and a failing business, or adjusting to living the single life in a new state, my life has truly been an adventure.
This time is different in that I don't have the endless amounts of energy and drive I once had. Which of course concerns me. But heck, I trust I can recreate myself again.
Barb works with individuals, couples and groups who are seeking solutions to the current cognitive, emotional and social challenges they are facing. This includes a career or personal focus (or both). She works with anyone who is dealing with adversity, whether that be physical, life change and/or grief-related, stigma-related, etc.
Barb understands the challenge of staying fit - mentally and physically - when one is heavily engrossed in one's education and/or career. Many professions today require such a focus, time commitment, and sitting on one's butt
that she works a lot with folks who are struggling with issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and the resulting relationship issues, depression and anxiety. She helps those who are ready (or are being nudged by a spouse, partner, employer, adult child, etc.) to become healthier by adding more of what's been missing - physical activity, improving marriage or parenting skills, attention to one's emotional self care, etc.
As a fellow health care professional, Barb is sought out by education and healing professionals
- teachers, doctors, nurses, psychotherapists, counselors, social workers - who are at increasingly higher risk of burnout and compassion fatigue. If you are ready to either transform the job you are doing now or transition into work that is healthier and happier for you, take heart. Because changes in the environment take longer, Barb helps individuals change now, by helping them create a work life that bends to their will versus the opposite. Having made this career transition herself, she is now an expert who can advise you.
Life today is a recipe for fatigue and burnout
for all of us, unless we learn to take back control of our lives. Barb works with men and women to regularly practice skills like laughter, relaxation, values clarification and simplifying one's life in unison with what one most values. You know, living the authentic life you say you want to live, without the endless materialism and 'stuff'. Barb has discovered the value in living with greater simplicity and 'slowness' and she can help you to make that shift. You will be glad you did.
Barb works frequently in the gender differences
space such as with women seeking to up their confidence and self esteem (find their voice and be supported for courageously sharing it) and with men learning to be calmer and better communicators (approach life less from a status, dominance and competition mindset). Barb works with pickleball athletes
- both amateur and pro - to bring a more conscious, fun and caring approach to the sport while still being competitive. She also works with professional and up-and-coming football, baseball and softball athletes
to manage and/or resolve whatever personal challenges threaten to derail them doing the best in their sport.
Barb also specializes in working with the active adult 55 and up population
- those folks who are either still working full time but starting to think about having more of a life to those who want to become semi-retired but struggle to make the life changes enabling them to do so and those who are already semi-retired because they burned out and now need to find ways to increase their income. She also works with those who are figuring out how to stay active in their career into their 70's and even 80's but gear down and those retired looking for new adventures.
Barb discovered during the course of her almost 30 year career in mental health so far, that she has a knack for and enjoyment of counseling family members looking to resolve problems and/or improve their relationship with an adult sibling or parent
. As such she's pursued additional training in the subject to hone her skills.Ready to make your life a bit better?
Just give Barb a call at 410-967-3848.