How To Avoid Burnout For Osteopaths

Burnout is a severe problem within osteopathy as fatigue destroys careers. Be a smart osteopath and learn how to avoid burnout with these 5 easy steps.

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About Alan Zaia M.Ost

Ethical osteopathy business and marketing advice delivered in a British accent. You’ll find me running, at the beach or inside our courses helping osteopaths create their perfect work-life balance.

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Burnout in osteopathy is avoidable if extinguished quickly

Advice for avoiding burnout in osteopathy

Osteopaths often suffer from physical and mental collapse. Avoiding burnout in osteopathy is vital. As a profession, we are prone to chronic work-related stress because we are a naturally caring bunch who listen to anyone who has our undivided attention for an hour or so.

Osteopaths by nature are giving people. That makes burnout a common side-effect of being an osteopath. Avoid burnout and it may just save your career.  

As always, if you’re seeking any help or further free resources, please feel free to contact us – [email protected]

Early signs to look out for when avoiding burnout in osteopathy include:

  • High stress/anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling disconnected
  • Always eating on the go
  • Low energy and exhaustion
  • No breaks or holidays
  • Excessive worrying
  • Physical illness
  • Always feeling rushed
  • A sense of running out of time
  • Quick to anger
How To Avoid Burnout For Osteopaths

Follow our top 5 easy to implement tips to avoid burnout from destroying your career.

Burnout can finish an Osteopaths career

Osteopaths must be acutely aware of burnout as it can take many shapes and forms. I experienced burnout after just 1 year after graduating while working 6.5 days a week. I know it will take a lot to ‘slow down’ but seriously, it’s worth it for your mental and physical health. 

Constantly focusing on the needs of others, which may lead to fatigue, feelings of frustration and anger, a sense of ineffectiveness and failure, and the onset of depression and associated co-morbidities.

Other signs include physical workload, type of patient feedback, financial pressures and supervisor support.

1- Take a (short) holiday

Can’t remember the last time you went away? Book one for next year – at least 2 weeks. Even a scheduled day off makes all the difference.

It doesn’t have to cost you any money either. Fellow Osteopath Rory Tyrrell told me that he tells his patient’s to spend some time walking alone in the woods, across a beach or wherever is silent and full of nature. Why not do the same? Take your shoes off or get into some flip-flops and get reconnected with nature. You’ll automatically find yourself reflecting and problem-solving.

2- Have a daily recharge

Ensure you have enough energy for your patients. However, you need to look after your body and mind by taking the time to eat food, reflect and stretch.

If you find yourself skipping meals, thinking about getting treatment yourself or always thinking about how ‘time-poor’ you are, it’s time to change. Have a read of our blog on how busy osteopaths can claw back time into their day and put that into your strategies for avoiding burnout in osteopathy.

Start looking after yourself every day. One of my personal favourites is to meditate at least 3 times per week and practise yoga daily.

I don’t always hit my targets, and that’s okay.

Use the 2-day rule

If you don’t do something on one day, make it number 1 priority on the next. In other words, never miss two days in a row. The 2 Day Rule is one of the 3 ways time-poor osteopaths can grow their clinic.

3- Keep osteopathy at work

Finish all your work-related tasks at work. Studies suggest that working at home may lead to a negative association with your home. Work never ends if you take it with you everywhere.

If you're a student, listen up!

While studying I had a crappy desk and chair in my bedroom. I always used to work there, never in the library.

I started to hate my bedroom because when I would try to relax I’d have my desk guilt-tripping me into not working. Throw your desk and chair out. Or at least get it out of your room. Go and study in the library. You’ll feel better once you leave knowing you don’t have to work more when you’re not in that environment.

4- Accountability is your friend

Don’t let your buddy burnout! Talk with someone who will keep you from working too hard for too long. Make them hold you to account. Moreover, start exercising with someone you know to maintain your motivation.

You can go one step further in work by suggesting monthly meetings.

Don’t feel like there’s anyone who can hold you accountable in a respectful way? Contact us and we’ll happily help you reach your goals. 

5- Double-down on relationships

Double down on relationships and friendships. Osteopathy may be your life but Osteopathy isn’t your life. If you don’t, before you know it, you’re alone. Not an easy battle to win.

Being an Osteopath is one of the loneliest jobs. That why it’s so important to practice avoiding burnout in osteopathy. We typically spend our time in a small room on our own. Do yourself a favour and start getting to know other Osteopaths in your local area. You may gain more than just friendship – business tips too!


It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced practitioner or fresh out of Osteo college, you are at risk of burnout.

A final tip, if you can help it, take a holiday before you start your first associateship out of university. In other words, allow your body and mind to recover. So many Osteopaths I’ve spoken to, including myself, agree with it.

Summary for avoiding burnout as an osteopath

  • Fly Away

    It's incredible how good you feel after you've taken some time to get away from the clinic. Wipe your mind and come back stronger.

  • Daily Recharge

    Ensure you have a system in place that allows you to recharge daily.

  • Keep Your Work At Work

    Osteopathy may be your life, however, it isn't your life. Don't let it take over.

  • Accountability

    Having people in your life to motivate you constantly.

  • Relationships

    Osteopathy can be a lonely job despite the amount of people we see. Ultimately, we need meaningful relationships. 

Turn your business around today

Work with our coaches to reclaim your work-life balance

We offer Osteopathy Business Coaching if you’re looking to set goals that matter, skip expensive learning curves, prevent burnout and become a better problem-solver. If you also want to avoid putting things off, stay accountable and transition your clinic into a successful business, osteopathy business coaching is for you. 

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