Sometimes I think I must be crazy for starting Wellness for Doctors, an organization that helps doctors design strategies to live happier, more balanced and fulfilled professional and personal lives.
Why would I want to add a major new ‘To Do” to my list?
Well, after burning out myself, and many years of experimenting, I have actually finally found my own perfect balance of work and play.
In 2013 year, after years increasing work stress, I finally made the decision to step down from leading a successful group practice full-time down to working 2/3rd. I even took a two month sabbatical during that initial transition to really learn to slow down.
I started to spend my free time over the past three years learning, teaching, growing, exploring, and reconnecting with what is most important to myself and teaching it others.
The Inherent Stress of the Medical Path
When you think back to your experiences as a medical student, an intern, a resident – what feelings and memories come to mind? Do you recall feeling rested, balanced, and able to connect fully to your self care and education? Or do you recall feeling exhausted, stretched beyond your comfort, anxious, depressed, out of balance? Did you sacrifice the very habits around sleep, diet and exercise you preach to patients?
From what I have observed in my work with physicians, that for all of us, the latter is true.
I recall being on call every other night for an entire year, working 80+ hours a week, and only having five minutes for meal breaks that I would quickly stuff down my throat while standing in line to pay.
We were taught that to succeed in our education and goals of becoming doctors, we had to put our own needs of self-care last.
The sad thing is that finally after seven to twelve years of training, most of our lives never adjusted back to being ‘normal’ and more balanced. We have continued to ignore the most foundational tenets of good health, overworking ourselves to burnout, obesity, substance abuse, stress – sometimes even to death.
How ironic and pathetic that the professionals who have the most sacred task of taking care of the human body, mind and spirit, have become disconnected from taking care of themselves.
It is through this passionate belief that Wellness for Doctors has come into existence. From a deep need in this world for physicians to reconnect with themselves and to reconnect with their own fundamental needs. I believe this is perhaps the most important journey for a doctor; the journey of a healer coming home, honoring and caring for themselves.
Making deep change is never an easy journey and it may even take years of consistent attempts to find your own true balance. But I believe, and from my experience teaching and coaching physicians, this journey home to ourselves is the most important of all journeys – and is at the crux of our own professional achievement as well as our personal meaning. I have found for myself that I am a much more fulfilled, productive and successful professionally and personally honoring of my own needs for self care.
For each of us this is a deeply personal and intimate exploration.
I hope that you will join me in this conversation of how we change our lives as doctors for the better. Attend one of our revolutionary retreats that take continuing medical education to a whole new level of really making positive change in your life and in the lives of your patients, your staff and your family.
Rx yourself a weekend or week of wellness on a Wellness for Doctors retreat, and change your life.