My story

I thought becoming a family doctor practicing in a rural area was my dream come true. My passion for serving the community and learning to become a competent physician fuelled me in my early years of practice. But over time, I started to feel the weight of these responsibilities and the burnout that came with it.

The work pressure was never-ending. I found myself working for long hours with little or no rest. Like many other physicians, I had piled on many responsibilities: a family practice providing comprehensive rural care including hospitalist work, palliative medicine, coroner work, and doing shifts in the local emergency room. I fell into a vicious cycle of chronic stress, which impeded my ability to tend to patients with the same energy and passion I once possessed. I was exhausted and no longer passionate about my work. I could see no way out.

Around that time, I decided to start a family and experienced a medical issue during my pregnancy. For the first time perhaps ever, I had to say no to work to look after myself and my new premature baby. I struggled with feeling overwhelmed and managed to get myself together enough to return to work after a short maternity leave. I did not want my colleagues to know because I wanted to return and be the same valued team member. 

Over time, my overwhelm improved. I kept my practice life small and manageable. I continued to look after my health issues. The most significant one was the 50 lbs of weight I gained during my pregnancy due to pre-eclampsia and months of prednisone to manage my ankylosing spondylitis. I tried many strategies which were not working. I was embarrassed that my patients came to me for health advice and I could not seem to fix myself. Then came the pandemic and I had to have a real look at the mortality issues my health problems presented if I were to get sick.

At that time, I heard a podcast about a coaching weight loss group for female physicians. I was getting desperate and felt that this was one of the few things I had not tried. I had nothing to lose. Meanwhile, I was still working but could keep my burnout and overwhelm at a low simmer because my scope of practice was narrower.

With the help of a professional coach, I began to lose weight. We initially focused on weight loss, and I learned brain-based tools and strategies to implement. But soon not only was I losing weight, but my whole life was getting better. Most importantly, my relationship with myself improved; once this happened, I could see how to look at my burnout and overwhelm in medicine. The coaching sessions were intense at times, but I was given various tools to help me manage my stress and balance my work with other aspects of my life. I coupled this with the latest in neuroscience to help propel my results.

With this work, I feel transformed. I am no longer a chronically overwhelmed, anxious and burnt-out doctor that was secretly starting to loathe my job. Instead, I am a dynamic physician who can show up in new helpful ways at work. Every day, I apply the principles I learned from coaching to create a full personal and professional life while providing my patients with the best care I can. This process has been worth every step and is still evolving. The tools I learned in my own process are the tools I am now ready to share to help other struggling female physicians who do not know how to feel better in this medical climate. If this is you, I want to help.