Physician Burnout: How to Douse the Flame

I get emails every week from overwhelmed medical students, residents, and doctors in the trenches. They watch in wonder as their peers appear to juggle everything flawlessly. Almost every note says the same thing: How can they keep their heads up and their hearts in medicine when they feel they don’t measure up.

Everywhere you look these days, from the Wall Street Journal to the Daily Beast to KevinMD, there’s talk of physician burnout.

Tweetable: “I believe comparison is the first step on the road to burnout.” @StarlaFitchMD

When we look out at the world, it is darn near impossible to avoid comparing ourselves with others.

We believe our families are happy until we see those people in the park on a picnic.

We believe our homes are nice and serve us well until we go to a party at a friend’s house or see a home decor magazine. Then we start thinking our kitchens need remodeling, after all.

We feel pretty good as we drive home after a long, rewarding work week until we hear news of all the good things that have transpired around the world without our input.

Comparing yourself to others is like adding fuel to the wrong flame. And if you aren’t careful, your burning desire to keep up with others will roar out of control until it consumes you.

Here’s the truth, as I see it: The only flame we need to fan is the flame of passion that exists inside each one of us. It’s the flame that burns in our cores, like a pilot light, to remind us we are enough, we have enough and we do enough, already.

Rather than looking around and seeing what we lack, we need to tend the fire in our bellies that pushes us to be our best selves, every day.

When is the last time you noticed that flame? Can you still feel it, on a good day?

Stand firm, dear one. Your inner flame is like a candle that lights the way for many others.

It’s burning inside you. Let it shine.

CATEGORIES: Blog on August 25, 2014 by Starla Fitch, M.D.

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  1. Pingback: Will Physician Burnout Lead to Fewer Medical Students? - Physician Burnout Love Medicine Again

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