RESOLUTIONS OF RESILIENCE
Central Florida Doctor|January 2021
Seven Habits for Healthcare Workers On the Edge of Burnout
GARY R. SIMONDS

It’s easy for healthcare workers to fixate on the dark side of the industry. And given the grim realities of the past year, that’s truer than ever. Stressful work conditions, difficult patients, EHR frustrations, and constant exposure to suffering can cast a major pall over our outlook if we let it. But we don’t have to let it. We have more control than we realize over how we perceive our job—and a new year is the perfect time to make a big mental shift.

Many of us have mental and emotional bad habits that make us feel disengaged, ambivalent, and destined for burnout. For example: ruminating, complaining. dwelling on the negative and expecting the worst. All of this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But when we focus instead on building up our resilience—and focusing on what we want more of rather than obsessing over what we don’t want—we can re-engage and actually learn to look at our work with new eyes.

Here are some habits that can help you build resilience and re-focus on the meaning of your work and the abundance of good experiences that come with it (yes, even now). Consider hardwiring at least one of them (or perhaps all of them) as 2021 gets underway.

Let the arrival of the new year mark the end of chronic negativity.

Why not make this January your symbolic cue to stop feeding your appetite for cynicism, pessimism, nihilism, and negative obsessing in general? Tell yourself after that date you will resist the urge to engage in sarcastic comments, complain-fests, and telling yourself negative stories about others—even when negativity seems warranted.

It takes discipline to look for the silver lining in dark circumstances. But there is almost always a positive angle. Assorted work disasters can yield invaluable learning opportunities. A “difficult” administrator may be the one who pushes for new equipment your department needs. Even when a patient has a miserable outcome, the care you provide can have a huge impact on their family and loved ones.

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