Prioritizing your health during the most stressful, burned out, and busiest seasons of your schooling and career sounds like an oxymoron.

The truth is- self-sacrificing is not glorious, it’s dangerous.

This is a special #LitUp2021 throwback with Laura Vater, MD, MPH shares her story of her own journey through medical school and how her health deteoriated when she stopped caring for herself. She thought she didn’t have enough time to go to the grocery store or sleep enough which consequently led to panic attacks and self-harm thoughts.

Dr. Vater is a Hematology/Oncology fellow at Indiana State University, advocate for humanism in medicine, and founder of the SMILE Scale, a simple measurement to help you prioritize your health.

Listen to the whole episode on:

(or wherever you listen to podcasts, we’re there!)

My Favorite Takeaways From This Episode:

-Take care of yourself and advocate for change in a system that doesn’t value your health or you asking for help.

-There is nothing wrong if you seek help for your mental health; it is a product of living/working in a system that has extremely high levels of stress. It’s not because you’re not resilient or strong enough. HCPs are some of the most resilient people.

-Laura began to create strategies that helped me to cope when she felt unhealthy; she advocates to have a thought-out plan for your physical/mental health

-Resilience to Laura is being able to learn from adversity and being able to integrate it into her life to make her a stronger and better person.

-Research suggests that having a gratitude practice is helpful for your mental health

-Burnout is such a multi-level issue. Solutions for burnout have to be multifactorial and multi-level, including at the system level

-SMILE Scale: a part of her strategy to take care of her health. Daily self-assessment to check-in with her health to prioritize and advocate for health.

Sleep: did I sleep enough? Was my sleep restorative?

Move: did I exercise today? Was I physically active?

Inhale and exhale: did i practice mindfulness today or practice a healthy way to de-stress?

Love and connection: did I meaningfully connect with another person?

Eat to nourish: did I make food choices that are going to support my health?

My Favorite Quotes From Laura:

“When there’s so many pressures on your time and you think you don’t have time to take care of yourself, the most important thing you can do in those times is to take care of yourself.”

“Your health matters and you matter.” 

“Your long-term vitality within your practice is going to depend on how you take care of yourself and how you handle the times when you are physically/mentally unhealthy.”

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Categories: BOLU Podcast

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