You Can't Have It All

It’s been almost a year since I finished residency and started working as a physician.

It’s probably not surprising to anyone that being a doctor can be extremely stressful. A high number of physicians experience burnout, job dissatisfaction, depression and anxiety. I knew going into this career that I’d have to make a specific, concerted effort to manage my stress levels. After a year of working as a doctor, I have learned a few tricks to make life a little bit more manageable while working a stressful job.


I am a firm believer in outsourcing tasks that stress me out. Yes, it is a privilege to have the financial means to outsource –but even if money is tight, take a careful look at your budget and see if there are things you can substitute or sacrifice in order to be able to hire people to lighten your to do list. For example, if cleaning really drives you nuts – can you give up your nail appointments, dinners out, or daily starbucks to pay a cleaning person once a month? If you own a business and are drowning in tasks, can you hire a low-cost intern to help? Or, the completely free option - can you trade off your less desirable chores with a friend who doesn’t mind them as much, e.g. fold their laundry if they make you a frozen meal?

Set Boundaries

Repeat after me - it’s perfectly acceptable to decline without explanation. Practice saying no, without apology. Decide what people and things in your life are important to you and invest your time in them; and leave the rest behind. You don’t need to go to every party, event, or social outing you’re invited to. You don’t need to help everyone who asks. You don’t need to take that extra shift at work because no one else will. Period.

Analyze your habits and recognize what adds value to your life, and get rid of what does not. I personally choose not to use any social media – I don’t facebook, instagram, snapchat, or tweet. Scrolling through other peoples highlight reels is a sure way to instantly make me feel badly about myself – not exactly what I want to gain from my precious free time. Setting that boundary for myself has helped decrease negative feelings and make time for hobbies that are truly relaxing.