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Are You Practicing Wellness or Avoiding Un-wellness?

choice coaching negative thoughts self-compassion shame wellness Feb 19, 2022
A person is doing yoga on the beach at sunrise by Pexels of Pixabay
The idea that “good health” is more than the “absence of disease” is now new.
The American Healthcare System, like many other countries’ systems is good at scanning for disease, but terrible at promoting health in truly functional ways. The same is true of most “Wellness Programs” created by institutions to support their employees.
At many major employers, workers might be screened for high blood pressure, diabetes, etc, and the program is heralded as their “Wellness Program” plus or minus some yoga sessions at lunch (which no one can attend…..).
And I would argue that this entirely inadequate response to workplace stress and burnout, begets resentment and derision of the very things that do actually promote health, including stress management, peer support, mental health care, yoga, breathing practices, etc. It creates "should" and self-shaming, and eye-rolling, all of which can worsen the burnout and stress an individual feels.
And it misses the critical mark: Self-care, has to come from self.
Employers can’t give us self-care. They can incentivize actions that appear to be sufficient, and punish markers of disease, but they can’t actually generate the habits for us.
Isn’t this victim blaming? 
Institutions create systems, overtly and covertly, that reward people-pleasing, cultures of overwork, and lack of personal boundaries. Medicine is guilty of this. But, if individuals don’t do the work of unlearning people-pleasing, unlearning overworking, and learning how to set and maintain boundaries, then no amount of free yoga classes will make a difference.
What CAN Institutions Do?
Start looking critically at what they reward and what they punish. Who gets promoted and why? Who is labeled “not a team-player” and why? How often are women paid for work outside of their job description compared to men? How many hours are people spending working outside of normal business hours to “catch up?” Institutions are the only ones who can examine the culture and choose to put people over profits. And they do have to decide to do this, particularly if they benefit from people working harder for the same amount of reimbursement. Leaders have to choose to look at overperformers and really question whether the efforts are sustainable and fair.
But you must decide, with or without your employer’s support, what is ok and what is not ok.
To decide where you are overworking, accepting tasks that you don’t have time or capacity for “to be nice”, afraid to say no.
You have to decide to get help and commit to it.
Ultimately, it comes down to what is most important, your life or your job?
We have seen, painfully, people make the choice that their struggle was so much that they chose death over life. Getting help, choosing yourself over your job, is a brave move that shouldn’t be so remarkable. Let’s normalize it.
If you are feeling suicidal, or find yourself wishing to catch (even mild) COVID or have a minor car accident to get a break, it’s a sign you need to get help. Call 1.800.273.8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources and best practices for professionals in English and Spanish. You are too important to lose, simply because you are human.
If you are struggling, and it’s “not that bad” get help too.
Therapists, Psychiatrists, Coaches all work with people in various levels of burnout. There is no need to stay stuck. To schedule a consult with me, and find out if I can help you with burnout, click HERE.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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