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Tired of Drowning? 5 Steps to Take NOW

boundaries burnout charting exhaustion no self-care May 23, 2024

Alright, this isn’t my usual vibe.

When I’m working with physicians on making their lives better, I’m not usually dispensing “quick tips” to “change your life now!”

But sometimes…we just need to have this kick in the pants to get some wins in our lives that keep us wanting more for ourselves.

So here goes:

1.) Time for yourself in the morning, every morning

Now, I want you to practice the PRINCIPLE here, and not take the timing as the only option. Make yourself some space early in your day for whatever feels good to you. This could be exercise that you enjoy. It could be making yourself FRESH coffee and enjoying it while the rest of the house is silent, or walking the dog and breathing in fresh air, or journaling. The point is that it’s something that FILLS YOUR CUP FIRST THING or as early as possible in your day.

2.) PAUSE before you say “yes” to ANYTHING

I bet you say “yes” too often, don’t you? Yes, to filling out the form when you are already out of time, yes to the (unpaid) committee work (“it would be so great to have you join us” ooh, EGO stroke there), yes to the overbook on your “lunch” break. If you are not used to saying “no,” it takes practice to not say “yes.” So pause. Take a breath. Some things can be a “no” right away. Some things can have a “let me think about that.” But stop saying “yes” over and over again when you want to say “no.” Pause.

3.) Your notes don’t matter half as much as you think they do, so CLOSE THEM QUICKLY

Quick notes that include the history, exam, assessment and plan and are DONE as far superior to elaborate, eloquent tomes that could be published. AND, your notes do not heal anyone or anything. Sure, use tools such as dot phrases/macros for things that you type over and over again. Sure, code for time, rather than words-per-note. Your note is not the final word on whatever is going on for the patient and it will never contain every possible diagnosis, detail, etc. And it doesn’t need too. Perfect is the ENEMY of done. Get’er done.

4.) Identify your energy drains, and plug the leak

If your energy is a tank, it needs to be filled (tip #1) AND it gets emptied. Yes, we use up our “gas” as we go through the day, but where are the energy sucks in your day? What are the events that happen that really pull you down? And what can you do to stop the drain? It’s easy to think that we don’t have any control, but it isn’t true. Name something that drains you RIGHT now, and think of 10 ways that you could change it. Don’t overthink. Some of the solutions may be really far-fetched (I COULD run away and become a barista rather than complete the form when I’m already over time…). I guarantee you’ll find something that you can try.

5.) Move your body

Go for a walk. Shake your hands like you are flinging water droplets off of them for a whole minute (seriously, this is a good one in between appointments). Put on your tunes and dance. Most of us spend so much energy in our heads, and keep our bodies pretty reserved throughout our work. It sounds counterintuitive, but MOVING your body is a way to discharge stress.

Ok, if you’ve made it to the bottom and you are rolling your eyes, I get it. I GET it. Do it anyway. Fixing your life is neither this simple, NOR is it more complicated that realizing that you deserve to be well cared for. Some of the most impactful work that my clients and I have incorporated into our lives boil down to these 5 things. And YOU can start doing any of them now. It’s not rocket science. It’s intention, attention and deciding that you and your life are worth MORE than how you and the world have been treating your human self.

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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