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Do You Press Pause?

boundaries burnout choice comparison limiting beliefs negative emotions rest wellness Jun 25, 2022
Woman doing Yoga on the beach by Renata Hille of Pixabay
I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion recently on whether it’s helpful to talk about Physician burnout. The arguments include discussions of whether it’s helpful to talk about burnout in healthcare systems when tangible solutions aren’t being offered. It’s a valid concern. I’ve seen many charts from different organizations that talk about culture change, and autonomy and enhancing clinical supports and any number of other “solutions,” but it’s often not followed by changes, other than enacting mandatory “wellness” activities or trainings.
That is all a problem. Full stop.
But outside of the systems issues, I have come to believe that we can make conscious choices to improve our own wellbeing. And for some, yes, this might involve changing work environments, but at a more meaningful level, it involves pausing to reflect on what is happening now, and what works and doesn’t for you, the individual. It involves thinking about what would be better, the direction to aim for, and deciding on some initial steps.
Many of choose not to pause for many reasons. We might not think of it, and just stay in a “heads down, carry on,” kind of mode. We may be afraid that if we sit and reflect about what’s really important, it will mean that something has to change, and we might have to grieve the loss of an old idea/belief. We may have scarcity around money or time that keeps us in place, the so-called “golden handcuffs,” and be afraid that if we made a change it might threaten our financial security. We may not feel that we can handle more change or disruption, so we don't allow ourselves to dare to pause.
I don’t mean to suggest either that everyone should quit their jobs. It’s a thing that can happen when we reflect on what we want. But what we want may not require that. It might simply require changes to how we work, what boundaries we need to cultivate, and how we think about our value. We may have to look at our current “shoulds” and shouldn’ts” and how they are preventing us from changing or growing. We may also need to challenge some relationships that aren’t serving us.
Pausing can feel dangerous because it threatens the status quo, and for many of us, the status quo is something we are tolerating, albeit often with frustration, resistance and overwhelm. And we don’t have to pause. But choosing to pause, is choosing to consider that things might feel better in the long run if you are daring enough to challenge the status quo.
The good and the bad news is that it’s a choice. It may cost you some time and energy and emotional bandwidth to pause. But the potential benefits of the reflection, of challenging yourself to reflect and connect with what you want and need in your life? The potential benefits to your emotional health cannot be denied.
What will you choose?

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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