Below are the episode show notes and transcript. Some episode transcripts have been edited more than others, but they are up in the meantime to help those who would rather read and for searchability on the web. Extensive editing has not been prioritized as I seek to both produce regular content and maintain my own wellness. Enjoy!

Show Notes

You finally finished your shift, that emergency, your day in clinic. You wonder, “how do I bring my whole self to my current situation?” Your emotions are all over, tired, frustrated, satisfied…maybe? And that’s assuming you can figure out what and why you’re feeling something anyway.

Listen to hear more about how mindfulness, reflection and empathy can help you be present and bring your whole self to your life outside of medicine.

Check out episode 17 of The MedEdWell Podcast and SUBSCRIBE today!

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Does life feel crazy right now? Like you’re pulled in a hundred different directions, but you’re never really in the moment like you aren’t living in line with your priorities. If that sounds like you, please stay tuned. This episode is for you.

Welcome to the MedEdWell podcast, where physicians get empowered to take the next step in their wellness, personally, professionally and financially. I’m your host, Dr. Ryan Stegink, a practicing general pediatrician and online entrepreneur.

Thanks for joining me here on another episode of the MedEdWell podcast. I’m so excited for you to join me here on the 17th episode, we’ll be talking all about being present, where you are with family, with friends, with yourself, a little more of the how to, it’s not just for when you’re in clinic and in medicine. I want to encourage you. If you haven’t already to share the MedEdWell podcast with a colleague to go and leave a review and go ahead and check out my new freebie, maximize your clinical efficiency. It’s a free PDF guide with 10 tips. Some of which have been really helpful for me. And some that I’ve been putting into practice even in the last week and getting wins from that. So I just want to encourage you to go to and check that out

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So like I said, in the intro, does life feel crazy? Like you’re getting pulled in all different directions. You’re not being present or living by your priorities. I know I’m not the only one out there feeling the tension. A mentor of mine said to me, multiple times, “you will never have fewer responsibilities in life than you do right now.” It is an encouraging statement, but encourages intentionality. I wasn’t sure what that meant at first. And it really wasn’t that encouraging at first, he’ll never have fewer responsibilities than right now. Okay. But as I thought about it, and I looked back to college to med school before my daughter was born at the time is now for taking that next step forward in whatever area personally or professionally.

So with that, I want to share three ways that we as physicians and as people can take the next step and being present outside of the exam room just in life in general. So that first step is by practicing some mindfulness and meditation. There are so many things that are outside of our control, things that are stressful, overwhelming, traumatic, hard outcomes with a patient. And so many of these things we just can’t control it’s part of life. And it’s hard. The thing that we can do is to choose what we focus on mindfulness and meditation allow us to be aware in the moment of our feelings of what we’re experiencing can often include a focus on our breathing, being present in the moment, being nonjudgmental about the thoughts that come up. It’s an opportunity to release and decrease some of the stress that we’re experiencing.

It also may be, especially with the meditation part, be certain thoughts or quotes to hold on the front of your mind for some, there can be a religious or spiritual component, but others, maybe not. This can really be an opportunity to help yourself focus on who you are as a person. And to just be in the moment, you can then be able to better look at your priorities and values that are so easily forgotten in the midst of busy life and medical practice. So first being present may involve using mindfulness and meditation, being focused, looking at your present thoughts and the big things you want to hold on to, which then moves into point number two, reflection and slowing down to do it. I want you to consider where am I? How is my week going my month? My year? It is so easy. At least for me to just keep going on autopilot, not even realizing that the weeks turned into months, but then I step back and say, how am I, how am I personally as a husband, as a father, as a doctor, as a person in the last 18, 24 months, I have been more busy, more patients than I’d had in the past.

It’s been different in many ways. Sometimes the volumes were lower, but now they’re back as high as they ever were. At least for me in the outpatient setting, that may not be the case for you. There may have been job loss or furloughs, other disruptions. There’s been higher acuity, more deaths, wherever you’re at. I want you to just take a moment and acknowledge that life is hard. Medicine can be hard, it can be really rewarding and you are an individual person. So regardless of what you’ve been through, I want you to take a moment and actually think about it rather than running from it. I want you to engage with where are you first and yeah, whether that’s a hard patient outcome or something that at work comes up where it reminds you of person that you’ve lost, that won’t be with you during the holidays this year, or some other personal challenge that just seems to linger in your life.

Next. I want you to ask yourself, what are your priorities? Do I want to do something else outside of work, whether that’s volunteering, uh, going on a particular vacation that maybe you need to plan for or save up for, it’s being more consistent with a particular workout class could be that you want to be able to get to your child or someone important in your life’s sporting activities or something else. Do you know your capacity for work right now? is it still 1.0 FTE? Do you have the financial margin? Like we’ve talked about in the past episode to be able to change that, to say no. Hi, my wellness is more important than that additional 0.1 0.2 FTE. Do I need to make a change? Do I even like my current practice, there are other jobs out there. It would be hard unknown. I don’t know.

There could be a lot of emotions coming up where you just say, I could do this, but I never really thought about it like that. Maybe you need to explore some of those things and do I like the potential destination where I will end up if my career, my life, any number of other things. If I stayed on the same trajectory for the next 5, 10, 15 years, I need to ask myself these questions, these things aren’t examined. How do you know that? Where you’re currently at your current trajectory, how do you know that they reflect your priorities and how do you have opportunities to change? So first meditation and mindfulness and second intentional reflection. But the third point is being present with your friends and family takes intentionality, intentional, listening, and showing up. You need to be able to listen and seek, to understand where other people are at, what are their needs.

How do you need to show empathy and entering their experience? This is often something that involves giving of your time, putting your focus outside yourself. It could be with your family with a significant other with children, with friends, even acquaintances or others in the community. This may look a lot of different ways. I want to just go through a few that have been meaningful for, for me or that I’ve had discussions with other people recently about could be entering their story of grief saying, I’m so sorry for your loss. And then being quiet, listening to their feelings, their fears, what’s been hard for them, or if it’s talking about different cultural, socioeconomic, or other life experience backgrounds that are different from yours, but being willing to learn from their experiences and perspectives, just as we talked about last week with your patients, being with someone being fully present and the listening, hearing them, it’s a gift.

And it’s a gift, not just for someone else, but also for you as you are then able to receive from them in that moment. So I want you to take a moment and imagine if you did this, if you took the time to practice mindfulness or meditation, maybe you took 30 minutes or an hour this week to reflect on your current trajectory and priorities look at whether they line up. Finally, I really want you to take a moment and focus on listening, seeking to understand the perspective and experience of others. I find that it is so easy to just listen, to respond rather than to listen, to understand. Listening to respond is just saying, what am I going to get out of this conversation? How am I going to make my point rather than saying, how can I be here and be here for someone else in a way that really makes them feel heard?

Now, imagine if you did that, what would you experience? How would you feel? How would your stress change? Would you be more fulfilled? Would it improve relationships with a significant other friend, a family member. I want you to try and take some time this week and do some of these things and see how it helps your wellness.

Thanks for joining me on this episode of the MedEdWell podcast. I so appreciate each of you listening each and every week. Please take a moment. If you haven’t already to subscribe to the podcast, share with another colleague, I really want to make this something that is really a gift to my fellow colleagues, all around the world. We’ve had people listening from multiple different countries, and I just want you to know that physician wellness, wellness, and medicine is really important. I know you know that since you’re listening, but for those that are hurting around you, they’re out there. Burnout is there. Moral injury is there and we can all by coming together. Help one another. Take that next step in our wellness. Thanks for joining me. I look forward to seeing you back on another episode of the MedEdWell podcast, have a great day.