Exhausted? Here are 5 ways to help navigate burnout and prioritize the important things in life

As a father, husband, business owner and pediatric chiropractor, Kaleb Scroggin, DC CACCP, is more than familiar with a packed schedule and the risk of drowning in all the obligations.

Burnout is always a lurking concern when being a small business owner, especially when that business is a doctor’s office. You care for patients all day, making sure that you not only help them get better, but also making sure that you don’t overlook any red flags indicated by some off-hand statement the patient makes when their intake paperwork looks immaculate, like that of an Olympic athlete. All while raising two children and maintaining a relationship with your spouse.

While I have a busy life by most people’s standards, there are several things that I do to keep myself sane, motivated, and happy.

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Credit: Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

Credit: Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

My approach to life is not to “prevent” burnout, but to purposefully design the life that gives me meaning and fulfillment, as burnout is typically a symptom of a larger issue—one’s reality not matching up to their expectations.

You want to feel valued, you want to contribute, and you want to continuously grow in all aspects of your life, for the rest of your life. The system that we’ve created is our way to solve that disconnect. The sooner you can get to that point, the sooner the next phase of your life can begin.

Here are five ways that he lives intentionally to keep his head above water.

What is the most important thing in your life?

Most people will answer “family” when you ask them what they deem most important.

That answer usually means their children, but in our eyes, family is the person that you chose to be with for the rest of your life. Once our children grow up, they will go out and create their own families, so it is imperative for us to not spend all our time entrenched with our children; we need our own time together, growing our own relationship and identities. My spouse and I have lunch dates, dinner dates, and go out on the boat together without the children as much as we can.

We need to keep our relationship tight with one another because in the end, we are a team, and our vision in life is to be together for the long haul.

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Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

Working for personal legacy

People really love that word; it feels great to think about leaving something behind to change the world. While hopefully my business lives on long after myself, that’s not what I mean by legacy.

As mentioned above, my children are my legacy, and to fulfill that legacy, I must intentionally raise them. My wife and I have two children — our oldest is three and our youngest is one. So, we live in the constant chaos of irregular sleep, scheduling around nap times, short emotions, and even shorter attention spans. For us, prioritizing our children means spending time together in social and learning environments, teaching and connecting with them. We take trips together, go out on the boat together, play in the parks together. We do as many things as a unit as we can.

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Sometimes on a weekend, maybe when it’s raining outside, we’ll turn on a movie, but that’s a rare situation. We follow many parenting blogs, social media channels, and are in groups that support the specific lifestyle in which we want to raise our children, so we are on the same page in how we communicate, connect, and teach. This is so important to us because leaving behind purposefully raised children is one of our ways of making the world a better place for the future.

It definitely isn’t easy, but that mission is the difference between stress and burnout versus the passion that pushes us.

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Credit: Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

Credit: Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News

Make your job your mission and be creative

Running a pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic practice can be stressful. Making sure that you’re doing all the right things clinically is one thing, then adding in the business side of things creates another level of complexity.

However, in my opinion, it beats being an accountant any day. I’m sure that crunching numbers and filing forms is amazing to some people, but for me, it doesn’t hold a candle to helping a newborn latch and nurse more efficiently or helping a child who has been constipated for months start having regular bowel movements again without any outside help.

I saw the amazing ways that children can improve under chiropractic care when I was in school and was hooked at seeing how well I could help them. I run a practice where I connect with my patients, see the results of my care, and how those results affect the lives of their entire families. This energizes me and helps me feel greatly fulfilled in my work and chosen profession. So, if you are not feeling fulfilled in your work, there is a way to accomplish that. It may be in your chosen field, it may not. It could be merely finding another company to work for, or it may be starting your own business.

Be creative and find a way to use the talents you already have to help make the world a better place.

Be the change you want to see in the world

While I work full-time owning and operating a practice, along with raising two children with my wife, another thing we hold important is not merely living our life on other people's terms. We decided to put our mark on our world and the world of our children.

My wife is the president of a local animal rescue, I’m on the board of my chiropractic state association, and we’re both on the boards of our children’s school and our own birth support non-profit. While this takes a great deal of time between 10 meetings a month, it’s so fulfilling to see the fruits of our labor in saving animals, helping our profession legislatively, having the best school for our children, and helping our families in our area have better birth outcomes.

If you are offered the opportunity to volunteer your time or money to a cause that you hold dear, take it, it’s a win-win. You help your community, and you feel more fulfilled giving back.

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Credit: Stock images

Credit: Stock images

The essence of figuring out the best way to schedule

With all of this inspirational talk of purpose and a mission-driven life, here comes the most important, yet most boring part of it. It may seem like a simple thing, but scheduling. How we schedule is essential to living a rewarding life.

My wife and I do a yearly schedule twice a year, starting with the immovable yearly items like work trips that are already planned. Next, we schedule fun and family time — vacations, staycations, and date nights. We block out weekends where there’s no way we can double book something work-related even if we see it as “productive.”

This is the most crucial part. Most people schedule some of the things they need to do, then let the rest of their time fill up as things come. This is a recipe for being overwhelmed, overworked, and getting burnt out. This article took me one sitting to write, but it took me two weeks to submit because this past week I had two teeball games, horse riding, and boat trips to uninhabited islands where my wife found a fossilized megalodon tooth. Of course, I ran a full-time business during that time as well, but most people wouldn’t compromise their work, they would do it in their “free time” which inevitably compromises fun and family time.

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Credit: Adobe Stock

Credit: Adobe Stock

That’s the difference: we do not have “free time,” we have scheduled fun, then scheduled everything else. After our fun and family time, we schedule our office work schedule, productivity days, and other work-related trips and blocks throughout the week.

This way we ensure that we’re not waiting to live the life we want to live, that we’re living it right now.

Kaleb Scroggin, DC CACCP, was born and raised in Savannah where he graduated from St. Andrew’s School before receiving a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Atlanta. Since his graduation, he has received his pediatric and perinatal board certification, Webster certification, and became a birth and postpartum doula. This extra coursework has allowed him to live his passion for helping pregnant women have more comfortable pregnancies and births, along with helping moms and babies recover more easily from the stresses of the birth process. He owns Restoration Chiropractic in midtown Savannah where he focuses in helping families become and stay as healthy as possible. Learn more at myheadsonstraight.com.

You can contact him at (912) 376-9191 or by email at  RestorationChiroSavannah@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Exhausted? Here are 5 ways to help navigate burnout and prioritize the important things in life