Have you ever been burned out? Snapping at everyone around you, feeling like you are pulled in too many directions, less focus/drive/productivity, and drained in every facet of your life…I was there before I even finished residency.
I was at this point, as I mentioned last week, where I felt like I needed to do absolutely everything myself, and I expected all aspects of my life (mom, wife, physician, spiritual) to be “perfect.” When I wasn’t successful in reaching perfection (which was daily), I felt unsuccessful in every aspect of my life- and saw many areas, both personally and professionally, suffer.
The problem: I had no idea that I was burned out, and had been for years. I was absolutely burnt to a crisp.
I recently went to a conference (Brave Enough), where many brilliant, beautiful, and wonderful female physicians helped me to realize…I was totally burned out, and I needed to figure out how to get my sparkle back.
With that intention, I read this Forbes article about burnout, which lists the symptoms/signs. I fit every symptom. I had been in denial. Now that I was aware, though, I couldn’t just continue with life like I had- something needed to change. A car can’t run on empty, after all (though I tried).
Once we’re burnt to a crisp, can we every really restore ourselves? I mean, if I burn popcorn, there’s no way to fix it- it’s just done.
We are a little more resilient than popcorn, though.
I needed something to look forward to, something outside of work. I needed to write, to hike, to experience life again. I’d worked so hard to have this great career, but I was shocked to find that for me, the career by itself was unfulfilling. However, I’d also worked hard to be a mother, and was shocked to find that being a stay-at-home mother was also, by itself, unfulfilling. Turns out, I am not a one-dimensional woman; I need a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional life which needs to include a great relationship with my kids, a wonderful marriage, healthy hobbies and habits, in addition to a stimulating career. The career I’d chosen, however, was all-encompassing, and it is an ongoing effort to maintain work-life balance.
Next week, I’ll share the article I submitted this past January for the journal Medical Economics (it was not accepted), about work-life balance. It gives a glimpse into my life a few years ago, fresh out of residency, when the burnout had really begun.
Meanwhile, attempting to chase that balance, my hubby and I celebrated our 7th Anniversary this weekend at a Brewery and the Hot Springs. After all, you’ve got to nourish to flourish. 💖
Find some ways to nourish and flourish this week. See you next week!