Work-Life Balance: Combating Burn-out

Physician Looking at Chart With the new year upon us, many of us are thinking about New Year’s resolutions and changes we’d like to make for the upcoming year. One thing that many of us would like to achieve is a work-life balance and part of that involves overcoming burn-out. So much easier said than done, I know. So, let’s start with what we know.

There is no doubt that medicine is more of a calling than ever –individuals willing to go through the grueling years of medical school and residency training, taking out massive loans to do so, and then dealing with all of the necessary administrative tasks and bureaucratic requirements to actually do the patient care that drove so many into medicine in the first place –all with shrinking salaries, to boot. Thus, many physicians have ended-up feeling over-worked, disillusioned and distanced from a career that they thought they’d love. In short, they’re suffering from burn-out.

So, what can you do? While single-handedly changing the health care system is out of the question, take a minute and poke around the Institute for the Study of Health & Illness (ISHI) website. Founded by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, the organization is dedicated to helping physicians, medical students and other health care providers reconnect with what drew them to medicine. And, if you’re feeling burned-out, most likely your colleagues are, too. So, consider starting a “Finding Meaning Group” at your institution, or find one near you to attend. While this may seem counter-intuitive, to add something else to your plate when you’re already feeling taxed, this might pay you back in spades and breathe life into you and your practice. And, don’t feel like you have to start a new group alone –ask a colleague(s) for assistance!

So, consider this your message from the universe, to help you achieve the work-life balance you so desire, by first combating your burn-out.

More to come on work-life balance and physician burn-out…

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