I always knew that I wanted to help people in some way when I “grew up.” So, when I enrolled in college, I chose secondary education. And then promptly had college major declaration remorse. Lucky for me, three of my cousins are chiropractors. While I wasn’t sure about that line of work, my cousin Phil allowed me to shadow him as he worked with patients. I also picked his brain (and my other cousins’, too) and began seriously looking at what working in chiropractic and, more broadly, the world of alternative health would be like. The more I read, the more hooked I became. I graduated in 2010 from Logan College of Chiropractic and began private practice in 2011. I have never regretted my decision to pursue this field!
One thing I’ve learned is that people have a tendency to do more than they should. I’m a perfect example of this. When I was in school, I “burned the candle at both ends.” I was taking my studies seriously, some might say too seriously, and I was neglecting the most vital part of my education – Me. Long days of studying, classes, practicing techniques and weekend seminars left little time for sleep much less a healthy diet.
So, you’d think that after I graduated, things would slow down, right? Wrong. I leapt into private practice with barely a breath between my cap and gown day and my first day as a practicing health professional. I was still grabbing coffee for breakfast, quick but not healthy snacks, eating processed food lunches – you get the idea. I thought I could counteract my unhealthy habits with exercise. I was wrong. At 26, I was burned out, exhausted both mentally and physically. I was not exactly the kind of doctor I wanted to be. Something had to change.
My patients are often in this same place when they see me for the first time. They live busy lives and often don’t take the time to care for themselves. I see this a lot with women, especially. They do so many things for others that caring for themselves gets shoved further and further down the “to do” list. I’m amazed and awed at how much my patients get done in one day! But when it comes at the expense of their health, that’s when I step in.
I help them see that channeling some of their attention toward personal healthy habits will make a world of difference in how they accomplish the other important things in their lives. It just makes sense that if you feel better and have more energy, you enjoy life more and can do more. In fact, a brighter, happier outlook can even open up possibilities that might have been unthinkable before, such as taking up a new hobby, finally running that 5K or spiffing up the resume to begin searching for a job that would be a better fit.
I firmly believe the biggest key to helping my patients heal is listening. I not only listen to what their bodies tell me, but I listen to them as they explain the stressors in their lives, the demands and difficulties that have lead them to seek my help. Many of my patients have never had a doctor sit with them to learn in detail what’s going on. Listening helps me pinpoint what treatments will be the most beneficial and whether the physical, emotional or energetic body is crying for help the loudest.
I also love being a resource for my patients. That’s why they have my email and cell phone numbers. My work isn’t done just in the office. If my patients have questions or concerns after hours, I want to hear from them. I love being their go-to health professional and educating them on ways to care for themselves using natural healthcare. I also partner with many medical professionals. Together, we function as a patient’s healthcare team – merging the best of eastern and western medicine to give our mutual patient a double dose of supportive healthcare!
It’s said that the best way to learn something is to teach it. As I worked to educate my patients on the benefits of the natural approaches I advocate, I became an eager student as well. I began caring for myself in the exact same way I asked my patients to care for themselves. No surprise that it’s made a huge difference in how I feel. Gone are the days of poor eating choices and pushing myself to the limit with little sleep. I am happy to use my experience as an example for my patients. My hope always is that they see what living a life full of healthy choices and self-care can do for them.
Funny… I guess I ended up being a teacher after all.