Burnt to a Crisp

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.

The Sparkle:
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!

2 thoughts on “Burnt to a Crisp”

  1. We loved GWS — Morgan was in K-1 and loved the hot spring pool, no matter the season. Keep your head up, Lauren. Remember, none of us is perfect!
    You do everything well!

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