fbpx
Quick summary: Desmond Bell DPM asks why boundaries are Important. At the most basic level, boundaries serve to protect us.

Why are boundaries Important?

At the most basic level, boundaries serve to protect us.

Skin protects our body from organisms that can cause harm.

Fences, gates, and walls can also keep us safe from a wide variety of potentially dangerous situations.

 

The same can be said when it comes to setting boundaries in relationships.

This includes the relationships that occur in our professional careers.

Setting personal boundaries to establish and maintain a balance that is critical for well-being may not seem difficult at first.

But why, then, are so many medical professionals experiencing chronic stress and burnout?

 

Setting personal boundaries to establish and maintain a balance that is critical for well-being may not seem difficult at first, but why then are so many medical professionals experiencing chronic stress and burnout? Click To Tweet

 

By nature, we tend to be problem solvers and are empathetic.

This is true whether we serve others as Physicians, Nurses or, in any other area of medicine.

This can lead to a mindset in which we often focus on caring for others before caring for ourselves.

Where this may become problematic is when the delineation between private and professional lives become blurred.

Being accessible to patients 24/7, not leaving our work at the office and living as a “work-a-holic” is not sustainable, as much as we may think otherwise.

 

Being accessible to patients 24/7, not leaving our work at the office and living as a “work-a-holic” is not sustainable, as much as we may think otherwise. Click To Tweet

 

Recognizing the signs of general unhappiness overtime at work, home, or both, can be symptomatic of a lack of set boundaries between professional and personal aspects of our lives.

It’s willingly giving up control of your potential for happiness as well as your ability to perform the tasks of your job and life that make both rewarding.

This phenomenon often begins in school, with the pressures to succeed, and conversely, the accompanying, often pervasive attitude that anything other than studying is wasted time.

Socializing, exercising, and having fun, must become secondary, delayed, or eliminated from the daily schedule, deemed not as important as the responsibilities of academia.

 

With the pattern of “mostly work and no play” established well before graduation, this mindset is often carried over to residency and eventually practice.

Many times, accompanied by guilt, it’s no wonder it is so easy to carry this perception of a work ethic, without further consideration.

Until the stress, disillusionment and burnout, kick in.

Looking back, I don’t recall a particular moment when I realized my own behavior patterns were having a negative impact on others and me.

I do recall always justifying things because I never lost sight of the privilege I had earned and the fact that loved practicing medicine.

I also recall longing to go back to a life that was once uncomplicated; specifically, it was around the age of 12, when all I cared about was playing any sport that was in season and making sure my homework was completed!

 

The closest thing I found as an adult, now working in my established practice, was on the field of a men’s slow-pitch softball league.

One of my patients told me he coached a team and needed some players.

It was a little strange after not having played for nearly 10 years.

But getting to do something I had enjoyed for a good portion of my life made the risk of muscle soreness and concerns for “rust” less important than the potential for fun.

For two hours, a few nights a week, I got to be 12 again.

All thoughts of my patients, work and life, in general, were put on hold while my focus was on hitting, fielding, and throwing.

It was through that revelation that I realized how important having an outlet beyond medicine was to my well-being.

 

Since then, I have remained keenly aware of the importance of setting boundaries, not being afraid to say no, and making it a point to pursue interests beyond medicine.

Setting boundaries between home and work is necessary.

When work becomes the primary purpose for living, we can cheat ourselves of other experiences that enrich us and make us better in all aspects of our lives.

 

For two hours, a few nights a week, I got to be 12 again, and all thoughts of my patients, work and life, in general, were put on hold while my focus was on hitting, fielding, and throwing.

 

If you find yourself taking three times as long as it should to complete a basic task, either by procrastinating or just dreading the process, your overall well-being may be at risk.

Athletes who allow their bodies to recover adequately after training, tend to perform better versus when attempting to compete with minimal rest and recovery.

The same holds true for us as medical professionals. We need downtime in order to perform at our best, both physically and mentally.

If you think you are immune to this concept, then ask yourself, “who would I rather have treating me, someone who is sleep-deprived, somewhat hurried, unfocused, or inattentive to my questions, or someone who projects clarity in their actions and purpose?”

 

If you find yourself taking three times as long as it should to complete a basic task, either by procrastinating or just dreading the process, your overall well-being may be at risk. Click To Tweet

 

Setting boundaries may seem easier said than done, but it is essential for your well-being and sustainability as a healthcare professional.

Take a minute and try to remember the things that made you happy in life. Are there things that you have gotten away from that used to bring you joy, but have allowed them to be overtaken by the notion that they aren’t as important as your career?

Not sure if this advice is for you?

See if you can at least take 10 minutes out from your day to sit quietly, take a walk, or do something that requires focusing on anything other than your job.

It’s a start and if you need some help with the process, certainly consider enlisting the insight of a Coach.

Tweet this out

EARN CME

This learning experience is powered by CMEfy - a platform that brings relevant CMEs to busy clinicians, at the right place and right time. Using short learning nudges, clinicians can reflect and unlock AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.

Ad from SoMeDocs.

SoMeDocs Front Page Header

Marketing physician voices uniquely!

Our Venture Amplifies Healthcare Voices.

Ad from SoMeDocs.

SoMeDocs Front Page Header

Marketing physician voices uniquely!

Our Venture Amplifies Healthcare Voices.

Desmond Bell, DPM, CWS

Physician, Coach and Mentor

SoMeDocs

SoMeDocs, short for Doctors on Social Media, is a physician-created & led health media company that aims to build a beautiful catalogue of verified online healthcare voices. Our goals are to teach educated professionals tools for personal success, and to showcase them to the world, and facilitate the connections needed to grow. Join us.

Negotiation series header: David Norris

Negotiate as a Physician and Win

Catch this 8-part series, hosted by physician & business consultant David Norris, MD, MBA & produced by Dana Corriel, MD. Learn to be a stronger negotiator with these important tactics.

Conversations with Shem: Season 2

Medical literature icon Samuel Shem, author of “The House of God” returns for season 2 of conversation, in order to discuss the broken healthcare system. This time, he’s brought the guests!

Doctors on Social Media Teach Podcasting Header Image

Doctors On Social Media Teach Podcasting

Today’s health experts are sharing their expertise in audio format using podcasts. Join us as we explore how we do this and bring on the innovators who are giving it their all.

George Mathew, MD, MBA

George Mathew, MD, MBA

Trying to learn as much as I can about healthcare and the business of healthcare, to try to create access to care for all patients

Roberata E Gebhard D.O.

Roberata E Gebhard D.O.

I am passionate about Gender Equity in Medicine, and I help physicians who have experienced workplace injustice!

Heather Signorelli, DO

Heather Signorelli, DO

Physician executive and entrepreneur on a mission to help physicians through a reliable medical billing service.

Mimi Zieman M.D.

Mimi Zieman M.D.

We all have inner voices that need to be listened to, and stories to tell. Voices speaking up for women and justice are needed now more than ever.

Meridith Grundei

Meridith Grundei

Perfection is highly overrated. It’s time to start getting comfortably uncomfortable and start sharing your voice with the world!

JD Gershbein

JD Gershbein

“Linkedin is like a raffle; you must be present to win.”

Ann M. Richardson, MBA

Ann M. Richardson, MBA

“The Doctor Whisperer” – Healthcare systems transformation consultant and fierce physician, care team, and patient advocate.

SoMeDocs Logo

The Healthcare Connection Hub

Disclaimer: SoMeDocs assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, claims, or content of the individual experts' profiles, contributions and courses. Details within posts cannot be verified. This site does not represent medical advice and you should always consult with your private physician before taking on anything you read online. See SoMeDocs' Terms of Use for more information.

Grow with us.

We take rolling applications for regular contributors

We had a fantastic turnout and brought a large number of physician contributors on board our 1st & 2nd rounds. If you’re interested in being considered for a future round, submit an application now and we’ll be in touch when it opens. Regularly contributing means you share your thoughts, stories, opinions, or advice on our website, and we make it pretty/circulate. It’s essentially our large effort to collectively market health experts and grow thought leaders. We also consider applications for our “Experts for Health Experts” section, depending on the pitch. Are you ready to join us? If you prefer immediate access & want to build yourself space now, consider becoming a member.

Play Video
Our Founder Answers Your BURNING Question

SoMeDocs

“Why should I become a member of SoMeDocs if I already have my own space online?”