Leadership | 05.24.23
Balance and Wellness: Is It Possible?
I struggle with finding balance, and the past six months have felt like a harrowing game of Jenga. But personally, this has felt like an extension of tumultuous challenges that many of us have faced over the last 3 years with how the pandemic had impacted us in very different ways.
Today, however, I missed a meeting regarding a social issue that is near and dear to my heart, and I missed the meeting because my office launched a new credentialing software, six years in the works. I had physicians coming and going, I was trying to ensure my staff were happy, not stressing and in a good place; and then I received a call that my brother-in-law was unexpectedly in the ICU on a vent. Life happened, the work-life balance was upset, there was not enough of me to go around, and I failed a group of people whom I admire so very much.
We can look back and specifically recall how we’ve made plans to improve ourselves and improve our lives, while that thing called life happens and may completely knock those plans aside. So, what can we do about those hectic days where we lose our balance? These are some effective ways to check in on yourself and others around you in your medical staff office (MSO).
In 2022, I had dealt with more professional (and personal) struggles than ever: projects, goals, expectations, and burdens placed on my shoulders by myself and others.
I had leveraged the art of journaling, adult coloring books, meditation, breathing exercises, every app with a free trial (and those that were not free!), utilized my employer’s Employee Assistance Program, medication, and even resorted to seeking assistance through counseling services. The only thing not tried was yoga, simply because this body is not made for yoga. That would be a whole new can of worms of physical ailments to add to this mess of a self I am! I discovered that journaling was the best for me as it was a place I could write. I did not need to worry about grammar, punctuation, or flow, but rather could focus on spilling everything onto a page. I could feel a release from the sense of pressure. I was writing for me.
When insomnia begins to take hold, again, I grab my notebook (or phone) to write the repetitive thoughts in my head and send them away. Once out of my head, I may be able to go back to sleep. The next day, I pick the thoughts up, decide if they are middle of the night panic, or something to follow up on. However, it is a method and attempt to compartmentalize worries, thoughts, ideas, everything that works for me. Does it fix it? No. However, it helps me have a mechanism for coping with the many items that are tossed my way. We all realize we are supposed to have the answers to a million questions--personally and professionally--and it’s the nature of the job to hate being incorrect.
Therefore, as I have pondered how I handle wellness and balance. My best advice is to do the following:
- Remember to actually, ask for the help – asking for help does not mean you’re weak;
- Know your resources (e.g. employee assistance programs) and use them. There is no shame; there should be no stigma;
- Delegate projects when possible;
- Utilize whatever outlet that works best for you, journal, talk, rant, rave, sing, talk to your friends; I promise you, others are struggling too;
- Have faith in yourself.
The balance is within us, and the wellness is how we choose to apply it. Sometimes, we just need a little reassurance that others have similar struggles too. It’s a reminder that we are not alone, and it helps us to connect with others on that basic human level. Lastly, from my heart to yours, on those days when you feel completely overwhelmed, know you are not alone.
A wise man used to always say, “It’s going to be alright. Keep moving forward.” ~Jack C. Berno, Jr, MD.