By Kristen Wilson, PT, DPT
It’s hot. Like really hot. It’s so hot you can see heat waves coming off the pavement, the ice in your margarita melts between the kitchen and the patio, and the sweat drips down your face faster than you thought gravity would allow.
Many call it the dog days of summer, yet most people in Southeastern Pennsylvania claim this as their favorite season because hot summer temperatures mean days at the beach. Through the cold months of the year, it’s not uncommon to see a countdown until the stifling heat returns, even though it’s virtually unbearable to be outside anywhere other than by a cool ocean breeze. Why the obsession with summers at the beach? My hypothesis: The “shore,” as they call it in these parts, offers the perfect juxtaposition of work and enjoyment.
Heading to the shore starts on the Tuesday before the weekend. Through the course of the week, you plan your menu, start packing the beach supplies, restock beverages, and discuss the favorite food establishments you plan to frequent in the upcoming weekend. On Thursday night the car gets packed so that by 3 pm on Friday afternoon you can hop in the family wagon and make the arduous drive amongst every other mid-Atlantic human to the sandy stomping grounds. You arrive, unpack armloads of supplies up flights of steps, stock the fridge, make dinner, put sheets on beds, and settle into the uniform for the weekend, namely a bathing suit and flip flops. By the time 9 pm rolls around, you’re likely in a full sweat from the day’s activities, only to be rewarded by a cool night’s breeze, starry skies, and several canned thirst quenchers. The morning arrives, pastries are picked up, sunscreen lathered, and the trek to the beach resembles a sherpa-led expedition up Everest. But alas, the holy grail, hours undisturbed amidst the calls of seagulls and the unrelenting lull of waves slapping shoreline. And it continues until you head home… Work, Rest, Repeat.
Starting and running a private practice can be a beautiful experience, much like the sight of a sailboat on the horizon. But for many, sand against a sunburn may be the more appropriate analogy. Constant friction. The hours of hard work are occasionally rewarded with better patient reviews, satisfied staff, or an increase in your bank account; but the work is unrelenting and at times, unforgiving, chafing at the very fortitude you used to start your business in the first place. No amount of ocean breeze can reduce the challenges of payment reduction or staff turnover, and at times it feels as if you’re left wondering if the heat you’re experiencing is from the outside temperature or your frustration.
Have no fear, PPS is here to provide the necessary aloe to your summer burn — an issue on managing friction! You’ll love diving into the articles this month which highlight some of the many sticking points of running a private practice. Like a good beach umbrella, this issue will assuredly provide you comfort from the heat of private practice management.
As the summer winds down, I hope you find your balance of work and rest in whatever form it may take. Find a couple moments to reach out to a PPS friend for support and encouragement to reduce the friction of your day to day. You’ll feel so much better knowing you’re not alone. It’s a shore thing!