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🔥Upside Guest Writer: "Balancing the Demands of Athletic Training: Setting Boundaries for a Healthy Work-Life Balance", By Dr. Derek Lawrance DAT, ATC, US Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT)
This week our guest writer is Dr. Derek Lawrance DAT, ATC, who is currently serving the United States Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) as a certified athletic trainer after starting in December of 2021. He was part of the USMNT athletic training staff in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar.
Before joining the USMNT, Derek spent a decade in Major League Soccer (MLS). Derek was the Director of Health and Performance at San Jose Earthquakes, overseeing all department efforts and working closely with athletic trainers, first team and academy coaches, psychologists, and other medical personnel. Derek was promoted to the Director position at the beginning of the 2020 MLS season after serving as the head athletic trainer ahead from January 2018 to December 2019 and the assistant athletic trainer from January 2013 to December 2017.
Derek began his professional career with an internship at D.C. United (MLS) before accepting a position as an assistant athletic trainer at Elon University in North Carolina. He worked with the school’s men’s soccer and softball from 2008-11, eventually moving back to MLS with Chivas USA in 2012.
Prior to his professional experience, Derek graduated with a BS in athletic training from James Madison University in 2006. He went on to complete his MS in exercise science at Georgia Southern University in 2008. Derek competed as a collegiate soccer player at Emory and Henry College from 2001-03.
Derek graduated from Florida International University in the fall of 2022 with his Doctorate in Athletic Training (DAT). He also holds NASM Certifications in Performance Enhancement (PES) and Corrective Exercise (CES)
This week Derek, in his piece entitled “Balancing the Demands of Athletic Training: Setting Boundaries for a Healthy Work-Life Balance” he shared his insights on how, as an athletic trainer, best set boundaries for a healthy work-life balance.
Title: Balancing the Demands of Athletic Training: Setting Boundaries for a Healthy Work-Life Balance.
By Dr. Derek Lawrance DAT, ATC
As a certified athletic trainer (ATC), you play a critical role in the health and well-being of athletes and active individuals. With the demanding schedule and intense physical demands of the job, it's easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. One of the most effective ways to manage stress and maintain balance in your personal and professional life is by setting boundaries and/or limitations.
Boundaries are the physical, emotional, and mental limits you establish to protect your time, energy, and well-being. By setting boundaries and limitations, you can prioritize your responsibilities, avoid burnout, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Here are some specific ways to set effective boundaries as an ATC:
Know your limits: Take an honest assessment of your time and energy levels and understand when you need to say no to additional responsibilities or projects.
Communicate your boundaries: Clearly communicate your boundaries to your coworkers, manager, and loved ones. Explain the importance of setting aside time for yourself and the impact it has on your well-being.
Establish a routine: Set aside dedicated time for work and for self-care activities, such as exercise or leisure time. Stick to your routine and avoid taking on additional responsibilities outside of these set times.
Learn to say "no": It's essential to know your limits and when to say "no" to additional responsibilities. Saying "no" to extra work or taking on more than you can handle can lead to burnout and negatively impact your job performance.
Limit after-hours work: Turn off your work email and phone notifications after work hours and avoid checking them outside of work. This can help reduce the stress of being constantly connected to work and promote a healthy work-life balance.
Delegate tasks: When possible, delegate tasks to others, either at work or at home, to reduce your workload and free up time for self-care.
Take breaks: Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to stretch, take a walk, or simply step away from your work. This can help reduce stress and improve overall productivity.
Prioritize self-care: Set aside time for activities that you enjoy and help you recharge, such as reading, listening to music, or taking a relaxing bath.
If you're starting to feel the stressors of your job consume you as an AT, just follow a few of these steps to reduce your stress. We know that AT life can be one of low income, unpredictable hours, and loss of "me" time since we are constantly caring for others. However, I want to be clear… there is absolutely a difference between hard working individuals and those who are overworked.
So, you must not forget, just because you're an AT doesn't mean you should neglect yourself. Take control of your position and create a lifestyle that works best for YOU!