Today’s post is a collaboration between myself and Deb Kerner.
The pH scale runs from 1 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline) with 7 as “neutral” center. Our ideal pH is slightly alkaline (7.3-7.45), but it’s worth noting that even small changes either direction are significant because a one point difference represents a tenfold in/decrease.
We hear about pH balance in terms of what we eat and how it relates to our health. We know that if our balance is off kilter it can have adverse effects.
But what about an slp-H balance? How do SLPs in different environments identify the true balance to keep them happy? What does an slp-H balance look like?
Is an SLP in the schools with a wonderful caseload and manageable paperwork at a true pH 7 (and would they care to post any openings?!). Now, let’s add a new, extremely difficult student with an unfamiliar diagnosis and needs outside of their comfort zone of practice. How would this student change their slp-H balance and what would be needed to bring it back to their “neutral” center? Consult with the #slpeeps? Peruse literature? Attend a pertinent seminar?
About a year ago, Deb found herself working so many hours during the week with no breaks which necessitated coming home in the evening with several hours of paperwork/documentation. Sunday evenings were set aside for additional paperwork and time-consuming therapy prep for the week. Feeling that her slpH balance was out of sync, she needed to make changes in order to be more balanced a happy. A few months of rearranging her schedule, finally allowed her to create time during the day to complete documentation which permitted family time in the evenings. While the difficulty of her caseload remained the same, she was much happier and felt closer to balanced.
Kim began her online business a few years after returning to the field as a private clinician. As both her caseload and online presence grew, she found herself struggling to keep up with the demands of both. Throw in teenagers with demanding social calendars (and no driver’s licenses) and a spouse who travels frequently and the pendulum swung way out of balance. Setting firmer boundaries that consolidated therapy appointments to fewer, though fuller days, went a long way to maintaining sanity—not so much switching back and forth from one task to another! Getting ahead on the blogging calendar alleviated that feeling of a deadline constantly looming and actually freed up her mind so post ideas become more plentiful!
Often those of us in helping professions will push ourselves well beyond feasible before making a change. It’s in those circumstances that we really feel the tenfold increase “one more thing” can induce! It’s during these times that our slp-H balance is askew and we need to find ways towards that even balance, whatever that looks like.
Sometimes, however, adding an “extra” does seem to negate stress and bring us closer to center. Deb found that participating as a parent mentor at her synagogue gave her an opportunity to get in touch with a different aspect of her personality, as well as allow her to spend additional time with her daughter in a fun setting.
Kim and her husband starting ballroom dancing together. Not only did it give them a chance to spend time together but it allowed them to work on a project that didn’t involve the family or household. By “problem solving” difficult to remember or execute moves, they had a chance to practice cooperative skills in a less emotional state, giving them expertise in navigating the parental bumps that the teen years often bring!
Now it’s your turn! Let us know what SLP or life issue pushed your slpH balance out of whack and what you did or found to center yourself!
Looking for more from Deb? I found her at ASHA (above), but you can follow her on Twitter @DibsonDebs or read her guest posts here: I’ve Been to Jail and I Liked It, What If Speech Pathology Was a State and It’s Charming.