Thriving as a doctor in a life beyond burnout
24 November 2021
Many of the measures to thrive as a doctor are similar to the steps for recovering from burnout (discussed in a previous article, here). Given the many stresses that doctors face, it is worth revisiting these steps on a regular basis.
This week (November 20 – 27), the 2021 Burnout Project Thrive Symposium is offering free, online access to a range of inspiring speakers sharing their own experience of burnout and discussing strategies to counter it. Doctors and other experts in the field will be sharing valuable resources for burnout, including books by some of the speakers and useful links to visit online. A private Facebook group, ‘Thrive Symposium: beating burnout with balance’ is also available for attendees to join. Access to the symposium is currently free, with lifetime access available for a fee. Register now to see some of the amazing presentations.
Some key takeaway messages from the seminar include:
From Dr Jenny Brockis:
- You are human and not a machine: know your limits
- Overwork and heavy workloads are not sustainable
- Know how to manage your energy across your day to get more done in less time
- Give yourself a couple of 15-minute brain breaks and a lunch break to boost your energy, attention and productivity
- Being resilient will not protect you from burnout
- Self-care is never selfish and is non-negotiable
- Helping someone else lowers your stress and helps you
- Nurture your important relationships and strengthen your social networks
- Be kind to yourself and avoid negative self-talk and an unforgiving work schedule
- Seek those who inspire you and make you feel good
- Include downtime in your schedule and spend time in nature
- Choose to do things that bring you joy and pleasure
- Learn to be comfortable with doing less to achieve more, as time out will being new insights and fresh ideas and will reinvigorate your passion, enthusiasm and clarity
- Ask for help early, before you burnout.
From Dr Jo Braid:
- Ask yourself: “What am I avoiding by overworking?”
- Beware of numbing your feelings and stay passionate about what you do
- Have some simple self-soothing activities to counter the multiple stressors you encounter at work, e.g., deep breathing, talking to a colleague, taking a meal break
- When you find yourself procrastinating, examine your thoughts and identify and counter any which are negative
- Have ways to remind yourself that you are good enough just the way you are
- Ask yourself: “What do I want to be different one year ahead and why?”, then set some small steps towards achieving those goals.
From Andrew Laird:
- You are not invincible. Avoid saying yes to everything
- Be prepared to say no and be prepared to ask for help
- Physical health is linked to mental wellbeing
- Stop to smell the roses and take time to breathe in and notice the greenery. Be deliberately inefficient in order to spend time outside in nature
- Prioritise time with friends and loved ones
- Reduce caffeine to manage anxiety. Drink coffee for the sheer joy of coffee, not to get through the day
- Are you trying to fill a void within yourself with work success and the applause of others?
- Freedom from trying to please others enables you to do things because you enjoy them
- Without work, who are you? Don’t let your work define you.
AMA Victoria Coordinator of Doctor Wellbeing
- The Burnout Project (website)
- 2021 Thrive Symposium | The Burnout Project
- Thrive Symposium: beating burnout with balance | Facebook
- Dr Jenny Brockis (website)
- Under Pressure | City Bible Forum