Bowling for Psychiatry

August 4, 2012

Find a Healthy Diversion From Your Work

When all is lost, go bowling. Our work can be a soul-grinding trial. Taken in small doses the developmentally catalyzing work we do for our clientele is exhilarating, mostly. For years I have marveled that sitting all day, chatting with clients, returning calls and emails can be exhausting. Why do my feet hurt at the end of the day, for heaven’s sake?

Even though this short piece may not address the burning questions of early career clinicians, and may be all too obvious, even cliched, it bears repeating. I still find myself submerged in my work, seeing a full schedule of patients, pulling the trigger on marketing campaigns, conceiving of the next one, and sketching out the next article for my blog. It’s not digging a ditch, thank God!, but without regular breaks it becomes a grind.

Recently Laura Lee and I, on a whim, went bowling. We were terrible at it but really enjoyed the experience. Many games and a weekend bowling boot camp later have seen our scores inch up to almost respectable numbers. More important the the scores is the fun we have and the blessed distraction from the mounting travails of work and life. In response to the question, “What’s the most important frame in the game?” one champion running the afore mentioned boot camp replied, “The one you are in.”

Taking the ball from the rack, assuming my starting stance, visualizing the shot, the five step approach, delivery, and follow through, I watch carefully as the ball spins down the lane curving gracefully into the gap between the one and three pins, exploding the rack – Strike! On a good day. The concentrated playful pursuit of this moment and the banter between rolls fill the games, almost completly obliterating the cares of the day.

Waiting in the wings are work and domestic challenges. There is pleasure enough in life outside bowling to make a satisfying life, but bowling a good game is icing on the cake. How do you spice up your diversions? Or is work the total focus of life. Let us know how that’s working out by sharing a comment via the link at the top of this article.

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