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Want to make Monday better? Start with Friday

boundaries play positive emotions rest Feb 17, 2024
Friday boundaries make for better Mondays

[I’m being relative here, because if you are a physician, you MAY work Monday - Friday, but chances are high that you don’t. Maybe you work nights, hospitalist week-on-week-off, etc. But regardless, whatever your “Monday” is, let’s make it better.]

Mondays are a shift from resting back to work. So here’s a question: did you rest? Did you actually take time for yourself, your family, your friends, etc with your time off? Or did you carry your patients home with you figuratively (worrying/fretting) or literally (charts)?

We care about patients, and many of us worry about them when we aren’t at work. Couple that with the enormous burdens of documentation and inboxes, the never-endingness of patients needing care, things to learn/research and administrative boxes to tick can mean that you can ALWAYS be working and never feel caught up.

But that isn’t helpful. Or healthy. And you know it.

The problem is, that NO ONE, will put down the work torch for you. They will always laud you for working more, hold you up as a martyr, or imply that you “should” be doing it anyway in order to be a good person/physician. Other people, including patients, staff, colleagues and healthcare systems benefit (in the short-term at least) from you overworking. Sure, they get that this leads to burnout and dissatisfaction, but “can’t you just” do one more thing? The brain loves short-term wins over long-term investments.

To get rest, to feel rested, to play and enjoy time off, you will need to END your work intentionally, and allow for the play and rest that you need.

So what do you need to do on “Friday” to make “Monday” better?

3 things:

  1. Communicate to your brain that your work is done; in other words, have a definite close to the day and the week. This could look like a cleaning ritual, an end-of-the-week dance, or a brief guided meditation.
  2. Reflect on the good things that you accomplished; seriously. Write down at least 3 things that went well, people you helped, etc
  3. Leave yourself a note about things to pick back up on “Monday.” This includes any follow-up items that need to happen, schedule changes or better still tasks that you will delegate (send future messages now) to help with the next week.

Why on earth would you bother? 

Taking the time to do small actions like this, close out the week/work, celebrate the wins, and leave next steps, helps your brain to know that it’s *done* for now. Just like laundry and dishes, new work will accumulate while you are off, but you are committing to this chunk of work time being over, and preparing for rest, play and true time off. You notice the accomplishments by celebrating the wins, and you set yourself up with some clear action steps for your return.

Creating an end-of-work ritual of some kind creates necessary closure and fosters an important transition for your brain. Like many of the tools we use in coaching, this can seem too simple to bother with. I get it. But if we want to really “go home” mentally and emotionally on Friday, these simple steps can make a huge impact.

Close your week well, and create the mental space you need in order to get the rest and play your human self deserves (and needs).

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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