I HAVE LEARNED FROM PAST EXPERIENCE that when I have too much going on I must listen and respect my energy and time.
After completing medical school, many students are relieved for the challenging course load and exams to be over. What many don’t realize is that life is about to get real. Really real.
Private practice has challenges of it’s own, which you can’t always be prepared for.
These are the 3 major contributors to burn out (in my opinion) and what you can help to avoid them (hopefully):
1. Doing too much overall & being too available
AKA: Not setting clear boundaries – i.e. lunch appointments and excessively accommodating patients.
It is much better to set clear hours for patient appointments than to have an overly flexible schedule. More structure and efficiency (work smarter not harder) – avoid email exchanges regarding any advice – this is time and energy draining – or charge for time spent reading patient’s emails, etc.
2. Not taking regular rest
Scheduling down time and sticking to it. This means day-to-day breaks but also taking consistent vacations or staycations to shut off completely.
3. Asking for help & receiving help
In my own experience – I, like many NDs, am fiercely independent (we don’t like to be told what to do). This are great attributes but the downside is we often have difficulty receiving help/support as well as asking for help/support. We are just so darn responsible and sometime too controlling!
I hired a university student to help with admin once per week (4hrs per week)- and I also hired a virtual answering service – both were incredibly helpful.
The problem was I was already burnt out and depleted by the time I hired them and I honestly needed to hired them both around 5-6 years into practice. Waiting until my 12-13th year of practice was far too long.
Recovery from burnout took a fair bit of time. Rest, meditation, gentle exercise all helped for me to re-connect to myself and realize I needed to make my own self care more of a priority.