Healthcare Provider Air Mask

Stress, depression and tired female doctor suffering from a headache or mental health while sitting in an office with laptop. Frustrated, upset and overworked healthcare or medical worker in hospital

Pilot: “Parents, in case of an aircraft emergency, put your own air mask on FIRST; THEN your child’s.”

How does that apply to YOU as a healthcare provider?
Here are some examples of how this aircraft situation may show up in your life. Are any of these relatable to YOU?

  • Emotionally exhausted. Feeling flat, uninterested, lacking drive, anxious, irritable, or stressed.
  • Trained for perfection and high performance; feeling deflated that it is unattainable.
  • Imposter syndrome and self-doubt setting in. Pondering career decisions.
  • Skipping workouts, eating out too much, craving alcohol, forgetting water, or not sleeping well.
  • Stretched like a rubber band both at work and at home.
  • Flashbacks and triggers associated with patient care situations. Weighed down by past trauma.
  • Administrative work robbing you of sleep, self-care, or interacting with loved ones.
  • Angry about healthcare system inequities, bureaucracy, and unnecessary complexities.
  • Experiencing tensions between healthcare providers and care teams.
  • Focused on the next problem, rarely appreciating the journey, or pausing to celebrate wins.

Here are a few tips:

  • Practice saying No and Not Yet. Recognize that every Yes has unintended consequences.
  • Hardwire 2-10-minute wellness habits into your day. Walk, stretch, breathe, drink water.
  • Block time to decompress, think, and practice self-care.
  • Have a toolkit of strategies ready for just-in-time anxiety reduction (4-square breathing, visualization, purposeful pausing, affirmations, thought restructuring). See our website resources.
  • Recognize that your human potential is more than a never-ending treadmill run. Hop off.
  • Practice a mantra, such as, “I can have everything in life; just not all at once.”
  • Initiate self-boundaries, express needs, negotiate, push back.
  • Advocate and assert yourself for healthcare system change. Influence efficiency changes.
  • Learn more about the business of healthcare to best influence change. Ask for the metrics.
  • Learn how to let go of guilt and regret. Be graceful with yourself.
  • Get creative and assertive about healthcare efficiencies. Let go of administrative perfectionism.
  • Get comfortable making decisions without 100% certainty.
  • Teach and empower clinical and administrative team members to take tasks off your list.
  • Trust your peers to help your patients. Avoid the hero complex, striving to be the hero of situations no matter the odds.

River Pines Counseling specializes in physician counseling and coaching.
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