In a March 2017 Forbes article, Paula Davis-Laack (Founder of the David Laack Stress and Resilience Institute) offers a few tips for promoting well-being and decreasing burnout in the workplace. I’d like to examine these tips and see how they relate specifically to doctors and surgeons.
Don’t Ignore the Problem – Acknowledge & Track
All too often, doctors who exhibit the classic signs and symptoms of burnout simply ignore the issue and keep pressing on with their work. But ignoring these symptoms does nothing other than delay the inevitable. Left unchecked, the stressors that lead to burnout will build and get worse. It’s a much better practice to acknowledge these symptoms when they arise and begin to track them. Do these symptoms crop up at a certain time of day, or when engaging in a certain activity? Measuring symptoms will help you identify the root causes of your burnout and help you achieve greater well-being.
Seeking Out Resilience Resources
Resilience is a learned skill that can be incredibly effective at keeping burnout at bay. Using various tactics, resilient people can develop an increased mental strength and toughness that can significantly help reduce burnout. Surgeons with high resiliency are much more likely to keep going when less-resilient people have already given up.
Finding Your Work / Life Integration (Rhythm)
Paula calls this “work / life integration” but I like to use the phrase “work / life rhythm.” Paula’s point is that efforts to integrate them will create more successful careers and relationships. My point is that our career demands are more successfully integrated when our other life responsibilities are addressed with quality and focus. I consider myself in my rhythm when I move from one role or relationship to the next with focus and quality in that role or relationship. This requires ongoing efforts, and the ability to say no when necessary.
Putting These Tips into Practice
Now it’s time to put these tips into practice! If you have questions about how to do that, or want to connect with like-minded surgeons about their well-being tips and tricks, subscribe to SurgeonMasters! With webinars, podcasts, and local meetups, SurgeonMasters aims to connect like-minded surgeons with one another and share tips to develop thriving and sustainable lifestyle-friendly practices.