I think one of the giant drivers of burnout for medical students or residents, is the fact that this it is all external. You’re required to do X, Y and Z things in medical school. You’re required as mandated to work __ number of hours as a resident and I totally get that. What I would hope to do and what I’d like to explain to you is this:
How you approach your medical student career and your burnout inducing residency, potentially, with a certain mindset and a certain attitude going forward. I hope you will learn good habits and hopefully ameliorate a lot of the burnout inducing events that can occur.
No is a complete sentence. So, if you think you are having unreasonable demands made on you, maybe it’s all of medicine that is making these demands and you really have gotten to that point where your BS bucket is full, then I think it’s okay for you to say no. I always wonder if the flip side of no is you saying yes to yourself.
Let’s talk about the fact that you need to say yes to taking time for yourself, you need to say yes to giving yourself permission to exercise and eat well, you need to say yes to the fact that you can use technology, and so on.
For example, it’s okay to have a grocery delivery service. It’s okay to have a virtual assistant, maybe take care of some of the more menial tasks in your life. It’s okay to use that same virtual assistant to maybe help with some of your schoolwork, and really virtual assistants are, you know, 10-15-$20 an hour employees which, you know, even two or three hours a week may be very useful for you.
You’re clearly spending a lot of money for medical school at that at that point that amount of expenditure is probably well within the budget and probably well within your mental budget for, for helping you out. You need to say yes to yourself, for giving yourself permission to, to have time for exercise.
I think one of the unhealthy aspects of our medical training is that there’s a lot of you’re encouraged frequently to say no to yourself, always in lieu of everyone else, and I think that is one of the first ways.
The first brick in the wall so to speak of burnout.
Please say no to things that are unreasonable. And please allow your mind to expand to think of ways that you can leverage your time and get used to saying yes to yourself more often.
But most importantly, say yes to yourself saying no to things that are not really in your best interest.
So those are my quick and easy tips for med students and residents.
And really, all doctors, as well, and all professionals.
Let’s get you started off on the right foot, and then all of us together will have to work on our medical training programs to make sure that they’re a little more humane and more tilted towards saying yes to yourself, and no to abuse.
Check out more on this on the Video TIP OF THE WEEK:
→If you’re looking for burnout answers, grab a copy of my new Book:
The Doctor is Burned Out
→Check out my NEW live stream series, Burnout Breakthrough on @JeffMoodyMD.
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Jeff Moody, MD, Author
The Doctor is Burned Out: A Physician’s Guide to Recovery Lioncrest Publishing, 2020
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