BE 2024 Conference

How Boundaries Help You Leave Work at Work

burnout prevention challenging work culture empowering women's mental health healthy work-life integration hustle culture mental health tips for busy women mom and career personal growth and development physicianselfcare prioritizing self-care seeking support setting boundaries taking work home timemanagement woman physician work-life balance Jun 23, 2023
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As a woman physician and a mom of four, I often find myself caught in the crossfire of a workplace dilemma that plagues many of us: the struggle of taking work home with us.

Like many others, I find myself caught in the swirling currents of this dilemma – the age-old question: do I take work home with me? For years, I took work home with me on nights and weekends. Why?  

  • I wanted people to take me seriously as a woman 
  • I wanted to advance my career and be promoted 
  • I wanted to engage in academic and national work 

My passion for medicine knew no boundaries. I thought I was striving to provide the best care possible to those who depend on me. Yet, as a mother, I found myself constantly feeling like I was failing. When I was successful at work, I was failing at home. If I chose my kids, I could see my work slipping. I was in a no win situation, which I describe in my book, Between Grit and Grace.  At some point, taking work home started to create fractions in both my marriage and my kids wellbeing. I started to set really strict boundaries – boundaries I still adhere to – to protect time meant to be spent with my family, creating memories, and building the foundation of commitment to my people. 

How do we navigate our intricate web of responsibilities that seem to be ever increasing? 

How do we strike a balance between our professional aspirations and the cherished moments that make life truly meaningful?  

It's a question that always echoes through my mind. And I suspect, in yours too.

Modern-Day "Hustle Culture" 

In the bustling world of medicine, where the stakes are high and lives hang in the balance, we can easily find ourselves in the epicenter of the modern-day phenomenon that has taken society by storm: "hustle culture." It presents a captivating spectacle, a sign of ambition and drive, resonating with the beats of success and societal expectations. And yet, as a woman physician and a mother, I find myself standing at the crossroads, pondering the true cost of this relentless pursuit of productivity.

In the era of hustle culture, the mantra is clear: work harder, work longer, work faster. It whispers in our ears, urging us to work harder, faster, and longer, promising us the keys to success. But ultimately, it is a reality where sleep becomes a mere suggestion, where personal boundaries are trampled under the weight of professional obligations, and where self-care is sacrificed for the sake of achievement.  

Does this feel personal to you?

Here's the truth that hustle culture conveniently forgets: life is not solely defined by accomplishments and productivity. In this relentless pursuit of success, I choose to rewrite the narrative. I choose to set boundaries, carve out spaces where work is left at the door, and give myself permission to rest and recharge. We don’t take time for rest and recharging – which is why I create so many events for women to do just that. 

The Pressure to Take Work Home 

The healthcare profession demands a tremendous amount of dedication, skill, and time. It is not uncommon for physicians, especially women, to feel the pressure to take work home with them. There are always charts to review, calls to make, research articles to read, lectures to create, and countless other tasks that need to be completed. In the pursuit of excellence, it's easy to lose sight of the importance of rest and rejuvenation. There are several reasons why taking work home has become a part of hustle culture and holds a certain allure for many of us: 

Perceived Productivity 

Bringing work home and working beyond regular hours can create the perception of productivity. When we work late into the night or during weekends, it feels like we are going above and beyond what is expected of us. This can give us a sense of accomplishment and make us feel valued as professionals. We may believe that by putting in more hours, we are making significant progress and staying on top of our workload. This illusion of productivity can provide a temporary boost to our self-esteem and reinforce the idea that our hard work is paying off. 

Fear of Falling Behind 

In today's hyper-competitive environment, there is a constant fear of falling behind or missing out on opportunities. We are surrounded by a sense of urgency to constantly push ourselves to achieve more. Taking work home is often seen as a way to stay ahead of the competition, demonstrate dedication, and prove our worth. The fear of being left behind drives us to work longer hours and take on additional tasks, as we believe that sacrificing our time will give us a competitive edge. This fear is rooted in the belief that success is contingent on relentless effort and constant pursuit of professional advancement. 

Cultivating an Image 

In our society, there is immense pressure to project an image of success and busyness. We are conditioned to believe that being busy equates to being important and successful. Taking work home becomes a way to signal our commitment to our careers and demonstrate the importance we place on our work. By letting others know that we are constantly working, we create the impression that we are ambitious, hardworking, and indispensable. Cultivating this image can be a form of validation and social recognition, as we seek approval and admiration from others.

It is important to note that these factors are based on societal expectations and perceptions rather than objective measures of success and happiness. It is crucial to question and challenge these beliefs to ensure that we are prioritizing our well-being and maintaining a healthy work-life control. 

4 Simple Strategies to Strike a Balance 

Taking work home may seem like a necessary sacrifice to stay on top of our responsibilities, but it comes at a cost. The boundaries between work and personal life become blurred, leading to increased stress and burnout. As someone who is constantly dealing with this dilemma, I have 4 simple strategies that can help: 

Establish Boundaries 

Let me share a game-changing strategy that has made a world of difference in keeping work from cutting in on my personal hours. It is all about establishing those clear boundaries, my friend.  

Start with this: define specific work hours, and make a solemn promise to unplug from work commitments during your precious personal time. Sounds simple, right? Well, let me tell you, it's a game-changer.  In doing this, communication is key. Make sure to effectively communicate these boundaries with your colleagues. Openly express when you're available and when you need precious time for yourself. This sets the stage for a strong foundation that prioritizes your well-being.  

Need some guidance on how to set clear boundaries for yourself? My book, Brave Boundaries is packed with practical strategies designed to help you establish firm boundaries and discover the balance you truly deserve. 

Now, let's talk about something many of us struggle with—overcommitting ourselves. I see you. We tend to take on more than we can handle. But it's time to recognize our limits and embrace the power of "no." Imagine the liberation of gracefully declining tasks or projects that would overwhelm your plate. It's a powerful act of self-preservation that allows you to give your best to the things that truly matter. 

Also, check out my YouTube video where I share practical and effective tips on how to confidently say "no" when needed. It's a valuable resource that will empower you to set boundaries and focus on the things that matter.

Prioritize Self-Care 

Now, let's dive deeper into this topic because it hits close to home for so many of us. As working women, we often find ourselves feeling guilty when we even think about putting our self-care above our work commitments. Can you relate? I know I certainly can. It's an ongoing struggle that seems to follow us everywhere we go.

But here's the truth that we must constantly remind ourselves, prioritizing self-care is a necessity. It's about setting boundaries and making sure we dedicate precious time to ourselves. We often forget that when we take good care of ourselves, it has a ripple effect. It impacts how we show up at work, how we engage with our colleagues and clients, and how we navigate our personal lives. 

Imagine this: You're at the top of your game, feeling energized, confident, and ready to tackle any challenge that comes your way. That's the power of self-care. When we invest time and energy into ourselves, we become more resilient, more creative, and more capable of handling the demands of both work and personal life. 

Caught up in the whirlwind of an endless workload? I hear you, and I have something truly special in store for you. Mark your calendar and make plans to join me for the Brave Enough 2023 Fall Retreat happening in November—an incredible opportunity that's all about giving yourself the care and rejuvenation you so deserve.

Imagine a retreat where you can escape the constant demands of work, where you can press pause and truly prioritize your well-being. Picture yourself surrounded by a supportive community of like-minded women who understand the unique challenges you face. This retreat is your chance to invest in yourself, to recharge your spirit, and to connect with others who are on a similar journey. 

Delegate and Seek Support 

If you are like me who shows dedication to work, I know, we often find ourselves saying, "I can handle it" or "I've got this under control." But let me tell you, in those moments of uncertainty and overwhelming workload, all we truly need is a helping hand. 

It's time to embrace the fact that we can't do everything on our own, and that's perfectly okay. I want to emphasize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Think about it—effective delegation allows us to distribute the workload, creating breathing room for our personal lives. It's like giving ourselves a permission slip to focus on self-care and find that delicate balance we've been craving. By delegating tasks, we not only lighten our load but also create the space we need to nurture ourselves.

Download my free guide packed with my top 3 tips on how to maintain control of your work and home life, no matter what's happening around you. It's a valuable resource that will empower you to find that elusive balance and take charge of your well-being.

We must also recognize the beauty that seeking support can bring into our lives. Having a community of women who understand what we're going through is an absolute treasure. It's like having a squad of cheerleaders, ready to lift us and provide that much-needed empathy and understanding. When we connect with others who share our experiences, we gain a sense of belonging and solidarity. We realize that we're not alone in this journey, and we can lean on each other for guidance, advice, and encouragement. 

Searching for a community of women who truly understand the challenges you're going through? I've got something special for you. Join my community and surround yourself with like-minded women who share your commitment to prioritizing their well-being over work.

Challenge the Culture 

As someone who strongly believes in a healthier work-life balance, I take it upon myself to start open conversations about the negative impacts of hustle culture and burnout. I advocate for change and emphasize the importance of putting our well-being first. By doing so, we can foster a supportive and sustainable work environment where work-life balance is not just a buzzword, but a valued and respected concept. 

Imagine a work environment where our mental and physical health are cherished, where work-life balance is celebrated, and where success is not measured solely by how much we work, but by our overall well-being and happiness. By shedding light on these issues, we empower ourselves and others to prioritize personal well-being without guilt or shame. 

Become an advocate in your unique way and join me at the much-awaited Brave Enough Women's CME Conference 2023. Brace yourself for an extraordinary event that goes beyond the norm—a truly immersive experience where you'll have the perfect platform to voice out the positive and much-needed changes that women deserve in the workplace.

Gracefully Hustling and Thriving 

For far too long, we've been conditioned to believe that the more we sacrifice, the more we bring work home, and the more valuable we are in the workplace. But let's pause for a moment and question this belief.  

Does working non-stop truly define our worth? Does it reflect our dedication or our capabilities? 

I firmly believe that our value as working women should not be solely determined by the hours we put in or the amount of work we take home. Our true value lies in our skills, our contributions, our unique perspectives, and our ability to bring our whole selves to the table. 

It's time to challenge the status quo and shift the focus to what truly matters: a healthy work-life balance that allows us to thrive both personally and professionally. 

Gracefully hustling BY resting and  thriving—what a powerful concept. It's about finding that sweet spot where hard work meets balance, where ambition coexists with self-care, and where success is defined by our overall well-being.

You've got this, sister. 

Stop hustling, rest to thrive, and always remember to love and care for yourself along the way.

Feeling stretched thin? I can show you 10 ways to get back TWO HOURS in your week!



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