Quitting medicine may sound like a crazy idea to friends and family who have seen you work so hard over the years. But for you, it may be something you are seriously considering if you are burnt out and have long ago lost that passion that got you through medical school.
Wanting to quit is nothing to feel guilty about! Here are a few suggestions to help you reframe your thinking and move forward with confidence.
Never make a major life or career decision post-call.
I made this rule for myself when I was in residency and would come home after a 30 hour call feeling sleep deprived, hangry and wanting to quit. This rule served me well because what I realized then is that post-call I was not at all in the right frame of mind to make any big decisions because I was just so physically, mentally and emotionally drained.
Fast forward to life as an attending when I went through a few rounds of professional burnout. I would come home from a crazy overnight shift working in the ER, collapse in bed daydreaming about quitting medicine.
BUT I would remind myself of my rule which I modified to this:
Never make a major life or career decision when feeling burnt out, overwhelmed or exhausted.
The reason is that in that state of mind we are oftentimes making a decision from a reactive place and may decide to do something that we later regret. And we certainly are NOT making decisions from our highest selves.
So what do you do when you feel like quitting medicine?
Step 1: Sit tight and don’t make any decisions, at least not yet. Don’t write your resignation letter or shoot off an angry email.
Step 2: Take some time to rest, relax and pour back into yourself. Sleep, eat a healthy meal, take a bubble bath, go away for a long weekend, play online bingo for money. Get back to feeling like yourself again.
Step 3: Seek professional help. If you think you might be depressed or anxious see a doctor. If you think you need someone to hold a safe space for you and help you sort out your thoughts and feelings, find a life coach. A life coach, especially a physician life coach can help you work through burnout, overwhelm and exhaustion and help you gain clarity on the next best steps for your career.
If you are looking for a certified physician life coach to help you through burnout or to work through your feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion, check out our Physician Wellness and Empowerment Program which we just opened up for enrollment. Our next cohort starts the week of September 19th. Spots are limited, so if you want one, be sure to click the link below to learn more about how in just 12 weeks we are able to help women physicians get out of burnout and waking up to a life they love.
Archana Shrestha, MD is a physician, life coach, speaker and entrepreneur in Chicago. She is the Cofounder and Chief Wellness Officer at Women in White Coats and co-author of “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats” book series. Learn more about her by going to MightyMomMD.com. She can be followed on Instagram @MightyMomMD
Ready to turn burning out into burning bright? Join us in our live 12 week coaching program specifically for women physicians that helps you finally let go of overwhelm and exhaustion and reconnect with the joy of medicine. You’ll even earn CME. Go to womeninwhitecoats.com/empowerment to learn more.