My new contract begins on Monday and I am so excited to get started in the acute care setting. As a student, I enjoyed working alongside my CI in the hospital: it's fast paced, frequently changing and, for many patients, a pivotal aspect of their hospital stay. I know as a clinician it will bring new challenges and considerations, and help me utilize aspects of my training that I haven't in prior settings.
As a travel physical therapist, I have taken advantage of long breaks between contracts. This time around, negotiating the contract and completing compliance items have extended this "vacation" two weeks longer than anticipated. To my fellow or aspiring travel PTs: this is something that you have to be prepared for in terms of lodging and finances. With the glass half full, the extra time has allowed me to focus on exercise, hobbies and all around prepare me for the new year. I will certainly miss this free time next week.
These (mostly) carefree days of hobbies and Netflix reminded me of an aspect of Happier Hour by Cassie Holmes, PhD. She describes the relationship between free time and happiness, "The pattern of results was surprising -- showing an upside-down U-shape, like an arc or a rainbow. On one side, we saw the known drop in happiness from having too little time, which is driven by heightened feelings of stress. But on the other side, we also saw a drop in happiness. There was such a thing as having too much time!" Holmes and fellow researchers found that "people are driven to be productive and are averse to being idle." They argue that, "with nothing to show for how they'd spent the day's hours, people lacked a sense of purpose and felt dissatisfied."
While I wasn't short on ways to fill my time over the respite between contracts, I did find I had a little too much free time. Re-entering the workforce will be an interesting shift and encourage me to manage my priorities differently. It may even encourage me to make the most out of less time. "The real answer for greater satisfaction isn't about being time rich," Holmes states, "it's about making the time we have rich."
Happier Hour has been a huge influence on the blog and my behavior over the last month, and I would highly recommend the book. Here are two other posts I wrote after reading HH:
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