Q: How do you avoid getting burned out?
I wish I could say that I've never felt overwhelmed at my job, but I suspect few of us can. I think burnout happens when people start feeling overwhelmed all the time and it starts to affect them negatively.
For me, the most important thing in trying to avoid burnout is to have balance in my life. Work is important, but so are family and friends. It is easy to focus too much energy on the former and not enough on the latter, but both are important. The time I spend with my spouse and family is a priority in my life. Sometimes this can be difficult, but I am lucky to have a spouse who is willing to help keep me focused.
At work, and at home to an extent, I've learned the importance of setting limits. A mentor once told me, "Don't volunteer for everything!" In an environment of ever-increasing expectations, I've had to learn how to say "no." This has not always been met with enthusiasm, but ultimately, by learning to set limits and sticking to them, I have been more satisfied with my job and my life in general.
“For me, the most important thing in trying to avoid burnout is to have balance in my life.” — Erik J. Kilgore, MD
Taking care of my health is also a priority. Exercising regularly, eating well (or trying to), and getting enough sleep help me feel better and more energized.
Erik J. Kilgore, MD
Breast Imaging Section Head, Vancouver
Radiologists PC, Vancouver, Wash.
Nuclear Medicine Section Head, Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital, Vancouver, Wash.