Remember that You’re Not Alone

Our dread of Monday and our dread of work is often compounded by a feeling of isolation.

When I began practicing medicine 4 years ago, I was the only female doctor in Pike County, Indiana. The whole DAMN county!!!

If you’re feeling isolated as a female physician in what really is still a man’s world, know that you’re not alone.

Reach out to your female doctor friends from med school and residency. The culture of medicine often encourages us to keep a stiff upper lip, but just sharing our struggles can be a huge release valve for the stress we face every single day.

Locally, I helped start a “Women in Medicine” group where local female physicians come together every other month or so. At each meeting, we answer 2 questions: What has been your best moment since we last met? What has been your biggest struggle? is so amazing to hear other women’s stories because I hear and see myself in them. If you don’t have this in your life, GET YOU SOME! If you are even remotely close to me, COME!

Join a Facebook group. I recently started a group called Mother Doctor Badass because that’s what we all are! We share our stories and encourage each other and right now, I’m running a 7-week series on work/life balance. It’s totally free to anyone who joins.

Even though life can feel so unbalanced, achieving a balance that works for you and your family IS possible! Stop going at it alone. If you don’t join my group (which I think you should and invite all your friends), JOIN SOMETHING! A crochet group, a group about dogs, one on naked yoga, WHATEVER. Just start making connections!

Listen to an empowering podcast. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of negative thoughts. Here’s a list of my favorite podcasts to lift me out of the sludge!

Susan Hyatt’s GO! Podcast: For an inspiring 5-7 minute Monday morning pep talk, listen to the first 160 episodes of this gem! She recently rebranded the podcast as the Rich Coach Club - still super inspiring and worth listening to, but listen to the back episodes for those short-and-sweet Monday morning pep talks.

Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert: These creativity consultations with artists who are struggling to create will inspire you to release your own self-sabotage and blocks and live your life more creatively, whether you’re an artist or not.

Talk to a coach. I’ve shared before that I chose to work with a coach during my own experience of burnout as a doctor, instead of a therapist, because in Indiana seeking mental health services can trigger a review of your medical license. (That is a topic for another day! As doctors we advocate for mental health services for our patients but get penalized when we seek help ourselves. This is crazy!)

In September and October I’m offering a limited number of free 60-minute colleague-to-colleague consultations. Bring me your toughest problem - whether it’s Sunday dread, work/life balance, or work expectations that are just completely unrealistic - and I’ll help you shed some light on it.

Remember: it’s HEALTHY to reach out. Shame hides, but there’s so much freedom in openness, honesty, and vulnerability.