Although I help empower others on their experience of burnout, daily, I am not ourselves immune to its effects on the mind, body, or spirit.
When we as highly trained, high performing professionals ignore the impact of mental and emotional exhaustion, the result is lowered job satisfaction level, a decreased sense of self, feeling like a drone… a cog in a wheel leading to physical symptoms like insomnia, general tiredness, depression, anxiety and more.
But how often do we downplay these symptoms with statements like "I don't have time to be tired", "I have to just push through it", "People need me so I have to suck it up", and other similar statements? That kind of ignoring of our needs comes with a cost, doesn't' it?
Learning how to listen, and give ourselves permission to respond to the body's emotions and the physical signs of stress will give you a better chance at correcting the problem before it has a major impact on physical and mental wellbeing.
WE all know, burnout recovery and prevention begins with awareness.But what's more important is knowing that you deserve to be taken care of… you deserve rest… you deserve a break… and are worth honoring all of you.Here are the 5 places I had to learn to honor (and still balance on a daily basis) so that I can continue to be the best of myself for my family, my son, and the people I am here to help.
Honoring My Mind
Your mind is one of our most powerful tools for healing and creating new life.First, you must be willing to create a new view of life. Second, you must be willing to take on practices that will not only nurture, but also quiet your mind. With a quiet mind, you can be clear and present to take on whatever responsibilities that are necessary in life, and whatever is next in your journey.
Honoring My Body
As the cliché saying goes, "our body is our temple" so why would you not take care of it while you are inhabiting it.Taking care of myself helps me to experience the highest quality of life.For me that includes the food I eat, getting on my yoga mat and making time for movement. Cuddles w/my son and healthy physical interaction with people I love and trust. I call these my non-negotiables. What are yours?
Honoring My Spirit
While we may know consciously that taking care of our mind and body is important, we sometimes overlook the importance of the spiritual connection.When I speak of spiritual connection, I'm not talking necessarily about religious practice, although that may be a part of it.The spiritual connection is that access to the eternal that you find in whatever means or method speak to you.Whether you find this access through art, meditation, or church, nurturing this connection can give you a sense of joy, serenity and peace of mind not found in other sources.
Honoring My Connections
Pulling from another corny cliché "no man is an island". But as a tested introvert, I was proned from the get for isolation.I have always had to work at staying connected to others, however what I have found is that the more I've allowed myself to connect and be supported, the healthier I staymentally. Also, those connections keep me accountable to what I say I want (career, love, financially) and lead me to a higher level of success. And finally, when I'm struggling, those same connections remind me of who I am as a contribution to the world. Those connections are why I am even alive today…. Why I didn't swallow a bottle of Percocet nearly 10 years ago.
As physicians, we didn't get to where we are without being determined, driven, and self-sufficient. However, you may recognize that this type of independence can come with a cost to our relationships. At the end of the day, we are the company we keep, and our quality of life partially rests in the hands of those relationships that we choose to nurture.We are social beings by nature and emotional connections are paramount to every aspect of our lives. So, don't underestimate the need for connections with people.
Honoring my Need to be a Contribution
Most of us as physicians went into medicine to help others in some way. We weren't warned about all of the challenges that being a doctor could bring.It's easy to forget the role we play, not only to our patients, but to resident physicians and doctors in training.In fact, we often forget the contribution we can give to our families, our communities, and our industry.It takes being mindful of who we are as a contributor, to find fulfillment and satisfaction in what we do on a day-to-day basis.
Bottom line is that honoring our mind, body, spirit, social connections, and our values is a practice that calls for prioritization in our lives in order to effectively prevent the downward spiral. Honoring yourself fully connects you to a life of complete fulfillment and satisfaction; a life free from being ruled by circumstances and stress.
How have you honored yourself in these areas this year so far, and what will you now do to prioritize honoring yourself as a daily practice? What non-negotiables will you create?
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