50: Breaking the Habits That Lead to Burnout with Dr. Tonya Caylor

Where are perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking preventing you from enjoying your career? For this episode, I’m sitting down with Dr. Tonya Caylor, an academic physician coach and family medicine physician who helps family medicine residents, faculty, and recent grads reduce unnecessary suffering and thrive in their chosen careers. 

After Dr. Caylor had her own experience of burnout and saw the impact that perfectionism was having on her life, she realized that coaching tools and concepts had the power to change so much for her and that they’re the missing piece when it comes to residency education. And that’s how Joy in Family Medicine Coaching Services was born.

Tune in this week to discover how perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking are holding you back and how to instead make space for seemingly polarizing ideas to coexist. Dr. Caylor is sharing how she created habits that have served her as a physician and a coach and one concrete strategy you can start implementing right now that will help you gain immediate perspective on your day-to-day life.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine, MD | Breaking the Habits That Lead to Burnout with Dr. Tonya Caylor

Where are perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking preventing you from enjoying your career? For this episode, I’m sitting down with Dr. Tonya Caylor, an academic physician coach and family medicine physician who helps family medicine residents, faculty, and recent grads reduce unnecessary suffering and thrive in their chosen careers.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine, MD | Breaking the Habits That Lead to Burnout with Dr. Tonya Caylor

After Dr. Caylor had her own experience of burnout and saw the impact that perfectionism was having on her life, she realized that coaching tools and concepts had the power to change so much for her and that they’re the missing piece when it comes to residency education. And that’s how Joy in Family Medicine Coaching Services was born.

Tune in this week to discover how perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking are holding you back and how to instead make space for seemingly polarizing ideas to coexist. Dr. Caylor is sharing how she created habits that have served her as a physician and a coach and one concrete strategy you can start implementing right now that will help you gain immediate perspective on your day-to-day life.

If you’re loving what you’re learning over here, please take a moment to leave us a rating and review, so even more people who want to stop living their lives on autopilot can find the podcast.

If you want to learn more about how to better understand your patterns, stop feeling reactionary, and get back into the proverbial driver’s seat with your habits, you’ll want to join my email list. All you have to do is click here!

What you'll learn from this episode:

  • What drew Dr. Caylor to immersing herself so intensively in the coaching world.
  • Why Dr. Caylor believes coaching is what we need to secure the future of healthcare.
  • The role that perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking played in Dr. Caylor’s burnout without her realizing at the time.
  • How group coaching offers breakthroughs and perspectives that you just can’t find elsewhere.
  • The sources of disconnection and stress that residents in family medicine have to deal with.
  • Why the feeling of connection is the opposite of feeling like an imposter.
  • Dr. Caylor’s experience of building intentional habits that serve her and what she had to overcome in that process.
  • One simple, actionable exercise you can use to start improving your life right now.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Episode #50. And Happy New Year if you're listening to this in real time. Today, I'm talking with Dr. Tonya Caylor. Dr. Caylor is an academic physician coach, and family medicine physician who helps family medicine residents, faculty, and recent grads, to reduce unnecessary suffering and thrive in their chosen careers.

After she had her own experience with burnout and saw the impact that perfectionism was having in her life, she went on to discover that coaching tools and concepts had the power to change so much. And, she realized that this was a missing piece when it came to residency education. So, she went on to coach faculty members in order to elevate the entire culture of a program.

And she now runs Joy in Family Medicine Coaching Services, specifically for training programs and individuals. In this conversation, we talk about all-or-nothing thinking. About making space for seemingly polarized ideas to coexist. And how she, herself, created habits that served her well. At the end, you'll hear a really concrete thing that you can do this week, that will really help you gain perspective in your day-to-day life.

I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation as much as I enjoyed having it.

Welcome to Habits On Purpose, a podcast for high-achieving women who want to create lifelong habits that give more than they take. You'll get practical strategies for mindset shifts that will help you finally understand the root causes of why you think, feel, and act as you do. And now, here's your host, Physician and Master Certified Life Coach, Kristi Angevine.

Kristi Angevine: I am so happy to have you here on the podcast. Tonya Caylor, can you introduce yourself to the listeners who may not already know who you are?

Dr. Tonya Caylor: Yeah, sure. Thank you so much for having me on, Kristi. I'm Tonya Caylor. I'm a family physician up in Anchorage, Alaska. I've been in clinical and academic medicine for over 23 years now, and I transitioned to coaching. I still am on-call faculty for the residency up here, and for FQHC.

But my main purpose right now is helping residents and faculty members really enjoy their chosen careers. And to do that, there's so many things that different people need to access. Coaching is a beautiful way for me to be a thought partner with them, to kind of get through.

So, I have my own business, Joy in Family Medicine Coaching Services. And I also contract out with a couple of key people, coaching for institutions and Better Together. I believe you had Dr. Tyra Fainstad and Dr. Adrienne Mann with you a few weeks ago. I partner with them in their efforts to coach in academics.

Kristi: As we were talking about before we pressed record, I have so much awe and so much optimism every time I hear about somebody who's doing this work. With trying to bring really meaningful concepts that you've learned in your personal life from coaching and other things, into institutions.

So that they can be disseminated, and they can make an impact on the next generations, particularly life decisions. So, first off, just thank you for doing what you're doing. I'm just so grateful. When you reached out for us to have this conversation, I just have to say I was just so happy about it.

Because I, like I was saying, I get the excuse to have a cup of coffee and chat with you. And one of the things that I was doing in preparation for this, was getting to know you, like the “on paper” version of you. Because I know you from when we've met, but I didn't realize how much coach training that you have done.

From what I can tell, I just love this about you. That you have immersed yourself in so many trainings. And so, for people who love hearing about all the different trainings, if I'm remembering correctly, you did Co-Active training, Life Coach School training. You did something with Harvard Institute for Lifestyle Medicine, was Culinary Coaching. I’m remembering Positive Intelligence, and then also, something with being trauma informed.

You've done so much. And so, for somebody who has gone from being primarily in a clinical position to integrating so much coaching, what was it that drew you to immersing yourself in this so intensively?

Tonya: Well, to start with, I was drawn to coaching after hiring Ali Novitsky, you and I know her pretty well, to be a kind of a career coach. After I had recovered from my own burnout, I knew I was missing some things that I wanted to add back in. And, she coached me. I got to see, be a part of her group coaching program, where I watched people's lives transformed with these tools that I never knew existed.

So, that's what propelled me into coaching. Because I knew I had missed those touch points with residence and early-career faculty. Because honestly, Kristi, I think the future of our healthcare system… I really have a passion for the incubators of primary care, and that's residency programs.

To hear so many, not only residents, but faculty members, thinking, “You know, how can I get out of this clinical medicine? What can I do?” It made me really sad, because they all went into it with for some really great reasons. Seeing that coaching was gonna be a huge tool to reconnect them with their purpose, and set it up in ways that they could enjoy it.

And then, adding in a coaching with Life Coach School and the Foundation's course from Co-Active training, were just to kind of gather my skills. Everything else came as I was coaching in the spaces; things and areas that I knew I could bolster my own skill. So, it's lifelong learning and coaching, just like it is in medicine.

You come across, especially during the pandemic, some of that chronic trauma exposure, and knowing I needed some deeper skills to kind of walk alongside. And so, that Lodestar Trauma Mitigation course was just phenomenal. So, that's kind of how I ended up… I assume I will always continue learning in that manner.

Kristi: I just I find all of that dazzling. And, I love that each of the things in your life brought you to these different trainings. I've heard you mention in here and sort of alluding to it here and then in the past, that, you know, in your clinical work, personally, that you butted up against some perfectionism and some burnout.

And I'm wondering, in that experience, what was it that drew you to coaching, particularly as transformation or getting some help for yourself?

Tonya: Like I said, I was unaware that I needed those tools. I was unaware that I had those tendencies that had caused me so much difficulty. And it was really through watching a lot of other physicians being coached, as the external observer. That's why I think group coaching is really important.

That I was able to realize; oh, my goodness. I had so much unhealthy perfectionism. I had so much overreliance on external validation. I had unrealistic expectations that my to-do lists needed to be done before I could get to myself or my family.

And so, through watching others be coached, especially when paired with some topical training, that's where I began my own healing journey. I thought I had recovered from my burnout. You know, I was able to engage with patients and love that, but I still had those tendencies that I had not spotlighted. So, coaching really spotlighted that.

And then, gave me the focus to start working on this. Because, as you know, all of this mindset work is lifelong. Because we have built up these great big neural pathways, these super highways, that we just end up on; you know, comparison and feeling like you’re not good enough. And so, still lifelong work.

But that was really when I realized this ability for someone to reflect back, look at what your mindset is, help you see it. And lose limiting beliefs so you can actually focus intentionally on what you want to create for your life. So important.

Kristi: Yeah, I love that you mentioned, just in the process of observing others you were able to recognize things in yourself, that you'd been previously unaware of. I had the exact same experience. And it is also one of the reasons why I love being a participant, as well as a facilitator for group coaching. Because in community, you're able to see things reflected back to you with a degree of objectivity. And/or, just perspective, perhaps is a better word. It's just really challenging to see.

My coach uses this analogy, “When you're in the jar, you can't see the label.” I always think of, if you're an octopus in the jar and you can reach out and maybe feel around a little, you still don't have the same perspective as a friend, a coach, a therapist. Someone who is trained to look and see and show you those things.

So, I couldn't agree more with you, the sentiments that you brought up.

Tonya: Yeah, you know, the other thing now that we're kind of talking about group coaching and kind of seeing that more objectively. The other thing that happens, especially among faculty members and amongst residents, where we have this; number one, suck it up, buttercup. You know, don't show weakness. And we also have this; we're incredibly busy. And so, making time to actually communicate with people on a deeper level doesn't happen.

So, within that group coaching, we see that we have shared experiences, and we make connection. Connection is such an important part of our mental fitness. So, that's actually one of the other pieces of my burnout story; was an effort to get every checkbox done, I stopped socializing at lunch and with my MA in between patients, and everything. Because I was all about efficiency. But didn't realize that was kind of like the straw that was breaking the camel's back, by cutting off that connectedness at work.

Kristi: Yeah, sometimes those ways that we cope that are so brilliantly resourceful in the moment, have these unintended consequences. There's that social disconnection, in terms of disconnection with other people, that seems to me… I don't know what's your take on this.

So, it seems to me to parallel the internal disconnection that's going on with compartmentalizing away from either, difficult emotions in order to be functional and get through your day. Or, disconnection from your body. Like, well, I haven't eaten, or I've overeaten, or I haven't gone to the bathroom, because well, I've got to do these things. And it seems like you can see both, in parallel.

Tonya: Yeah, oh, I haven't eaten in 15 hours. Or, oh, gosh, I didn't pee all day. But the unawareness, until you're somewhere where you have a moment to tune in, I think that's universal. And kind of working on how we normalize that it's okay to take care of your human needs, in the middle… even in a really busy, high acuity day.

Kristi: Yeah, that normalization, I think is so powerful. Which, I’m only imagining, that when you get a group of practicing clinicians or residents or faculty or a mix together, and they experience that normalization and validation, that it must be profound for them. And, it must be profound for you to witness.

Tonya: So huge. I had the privilege of doing a group coaching through AMWA (American Medical Women's Association) residency branch. We started with a couple of topics. And one by one, they started opening up of how they didn't feel like they belong. So, these are residents from various different training programs across the country, in different specialties. But as they started opening up, one of them took the time to write me and said, “Words that have never been spoken, were spoken,” and how empowering and connecting that was. And, that’s why I love this work.

Kristi: Just probably about an hour ago, having a discussion with one of my groups about the power of belonging and the complexity and the nuance of that. And how there's, you know, there's both the mindset aspects and then there's, you know, all the social conditioning aspects. And when we don't name that as a source of disconnection or a source of stress, it can just smolder there.

You know, like the sore that you don't know is going on, until somebody says, “Oh, by the way, did you know that this is a lie?” This is what lack of belonging feels like. And by the way, all of us are experiencing that. So, it's okay to talk about. And therefore, when we can talk about it, we can try to remedy it in a way that's really realistic.

Tonya: I love that. I heard someone say, and I don't remember who it was, but I latched on to it because it's so true. When we talk about imposter phenomenon, and what's the opposite of imposter phenomenon? It's actually belonging. And that is so true, right? Because when we belong, we can be our genuine selves. It's safe to be a learner. It's safe to challenge and to contribute. It's a very powerful situation, when you do you feel like you belong.

Kristi: I say this every so often on the podcast, and so I'm just going to say it again, because I think it's important: Please, if you're listening to this, press the little button that goes back 30 seconds, and go do that twice. Listen to what Tanya just said, when the opposite of feeling like an imposter is connection. I mean, it's a really powerful idea.

When I'm thinking about all these ideas, and how now, these are sort of, you know, some of the things that you're mentioning, are just sort of common for you. There are things that you know. This is like the new lexicon for you going about your day, with what you're trying to do for institutions.

I have a part of me that's super curious about, like the Tonya of before. You know, the Dr. Caylor of before. And even though you didn't have these things that are now just sort of your foundational concepts and principles for living your life. What's coming to mind specifically, is how you survived residency as a dual trainee household, and got through that time intact?

Maybe, you didn't get through it intact, but it comes to my mind now as this juxtaposition of the ‘Tonya of before’ and the ‘Tonya of now.’ Which I mean, obviously, the same person with different thoughts and parts, but what was that like for you back then?

Tonya: You know, it's really funny, because my recollection of the experience of it, I don't know if I have removed all of the negative emotions from it. What I remember, is we were just in survival mode, right? This was before work-hour rules, and our institution was really good at maximizing the hours they could get out of residence. We also had two kids, going through training. And, we were in total survival mode. There are some things that stick out. One was, I could rely on my community.

I was in a neighborhood of families that had kids my same age. And they would take my kids to pottery class, or pick them up here, or drop/pick them to gymnastics. Things that I would have never gotten them signed up for, because just the sheer amount of time and thought processes to devote was not there for me.

They were just like, “We're signing Brittany up for gymnastics. Is that okay?” I’m like, “That sounds great. How much can I pay you?” They're like, “No, no, no, just pay…” So, the community was huge. We had family an hour away, that was huge. They did a lot when we had, back in medical school, when we had test blocks, and we would both have test blocks in the same weekend. So, we had the luxury of having family nearby.

And we got really, really good at boundaries. I don't know if I always had boundaries growing up. But what I can tell you is I became incredibly good at boundaries, because it was just a matter of survival. I could prioritize things. I could put my boundaries on, and I became incredibly efficient out of necessity. That's what I remember.

And, there were some really crazy times. I might have had a sister that was my nanny, a live-in nanny, for a while. But I fired and kicked her out of my house. Terrible. It's okay, we're really good friends again, now. But just the emotion of it, yeah, it was definitely not easy. But there were a lot of lessons I learned, and probably some unhealthy patterns that started to develop, as well.

Kristi: I think for anybody, who's in a similar set of circumstances now, listening to this, I think it might just be sort of lighting that light of like, or planting the seed of hope of like, “Hey, you can get through this. Even if it is really crazy. And, boundaries are super important. Becoming efficient as a source of necessity, that can be really useful. And on the other side, look what’s here.”

Tonya: Yeah. The other part of the, I guess, the whole story there, is I recently asked my kids a couple of questions about what they remember growing up. They do not remember us being gone all the time. They remember lots of activities with the neighborhood, and lots of fun. They loved learning all the medical stuff, and they are well-adjusted adults now.

And I'm sure that there were times that they may have tried to guilt trip us, but I don't think I had the bandwidth to allow that to bother me. But now, on this side of it, they're both wonderful young adult women, and they have only fond memories.

Kristi: Well, it's amazing to think about, you know, the things that will shift, and the things that we imagine things will be like and what they're actually like. So, let's take a little bit of a 90 degree turn. I have a question for you about habits. Because as you know, I mean, I love to geek out about all things related to coaching and related to habits.

I know from our conversations in the past, that you have done some work on your own habits. And what I'm curious about, is when you were trying to cultivate intentional habits that really served you, were there things in particular that you noticed that you had to overcome? Or, things that worked really well for you, in order to create habits that you loved?

Tonya: Yeah, I think there's a few things. Like, one of the things, is morning connection time with my husband. So, this is kind of, you know, devotion, reflection, sometimes it also involves exercise early in the morning. I had to overcome this limiting, I'm going to call it a limiting belief, that I was not a morning person.

And while it's true, in my natural state I would stay up late and sleep in, if left to my own rhythms. What I found out was that I don't like waking up, no matter what time it is. It doesn't really matter if it's 7:30 or it's 5:30, it’s the same process I need to go through to wake up. So, you know, some people wake up with a big smile on their face; that has never been me.

But accepting that and realizing that it was no different, that allowed me to wake up earlier. Because the accountability that is built-in with my partner, you know, my husband, is just too... He's a morning person, that's when he has the most time devoted to doing these extra things. So, that was something I had to overcome, and that has served me very well.

Exercise, I think, was another big one. And I think that is, even if we are not on it, we do these spurts, usually in the winter, I'm in Alaska. So, in the winter, those morning workouts really kind of set the tone for the day when it's not going to be, you know, light outside until 10:00 or 10:30 in the morning.

And so, when we're not doing those, I just know, I have learned to grow to trust myself that I'm going to exercise, and it’s not going to depend on whether I feel like it in the moment, or not. And, that was a really interesting thing. It wasn't a punishment, it was something… I think the mind shift was it’s something I was doing for myself, it was not another chore, or another thing on my to-do list. But that I know how much better I feel.

Slowly building up to where that was a habit. And you know, even as we go on vacations, like it took a while to become, you were talking about becoming earlier, but to become that person who loves to explore new places on foot, whether that's walking or running, or biking, or I guess, by foot. But you know what I mean? And so, that just is now a part of who I am. And, part of what my vacations look like.

Kristi: I feel like that brings up so many interesting topics. The idea of being able to recognize what you want is actually a bit of a departure from what would happen if you just did nothing and left yourself to your own devices. And what I see so often is when people recognize sort of that discrepancy, they will sometimes use it like the iron fist to try to change things.

Like, “What is wrong with me, that I can't get my act together? I will get out of bed,” and it makes it harder than it needs to be. But what you described was sort of making space for, mental space and emotional space, for, “Yeah, I just don't feel like getting out of bed, regardless of the time. And I also don't necessarily feel like exercising.”

And that can coexist with another part of you that recognizes, “I like the results of this, and might actually like doing it once I get started. And I can bring along that part, and not be like, what's wrong with me that I don't want to do this now? Of course, I don't want to do this. And, that's okay. But I can still become somebody who, along with my desire to not do this, I still do it because it does serve me in so many ways that actually fill up my cup.”

Tonya: I just had a group coaching discussion on self-care, with a group of residents. And as we were kind of working through that all-or-nothing thinking that gets us, right? And so, as we went through, at the very end, one of the residents said, “This makes so much sense. Because in my mind, if I didn't hit the gym for 75 minutes, it wasn't worth it.”

Because we talked about; you do squats in the call room, and you challenge each other. You know, just like movement is good and fun. I think that whole all-or-nothing thinking, and that's where that iron fist comes in, right? Like no, I've got to do 75 minutes in the gym, or it's not enough. And so, recognizing that you can set your bare minimum sweat.

Ali talks about a lot your bare minimum weekly exercise and then an ideal goal. And on any given week, depending on what your call schedule looks like, your clinic schedule looks like, your family schedule that looks like, you can give yourself grace that you can learn to trust yourself that you are going to get some movement in there. And, I think that was a big part of my journey.

I think the other thing that came up as we were talking is eating wise nutrition. It’s not like I didn't ever know what good nutrition was. But it took me a while. And this has translated so well into patient care now, into looking at what I want to eat, what I want to create, instead of what I want to restrict or leave off.

And so, when I have a goal of half of my plate being veggies or fruit or a combination, it's a positive goal. It's not like; oh gosh, how can I eat less mashed potatoes? My goal is a positive; something I'm moving towards. And not, something I'm removing from myself. So, that was another mindset hack, for lack of a better word, that really worked well for me.

Kristi: I know. That's I think, both of those things you touched on, I would consider habits like the habit of all-or-none thinking. It can work really well in certain circumstances. Like, I need to slam on the brakes, or I need to go forward. Sometimes it's one or the other, and it's extremely practical. And sometimes, in the operating room you might need to be very decisive, like block out all other stimuli; one or the other.

Those habits can serve us well in one context, and then not serve us so well in another context, when it comes to something like exercise, when you're a resident. So anyways, when you think about both of those things that you just mentioned, as a habituated mindset that is malleable. Once you recognize it for what it is, it's actually much more malleable.

And when you can, to steal your words, when you can practice thinking, “I'm becoming a person who…” Where I'm on my way to learning how to like things. And practice that habit of I'm going to do something that's positive and not a restriction, in my approach to creating changes I love.” It comes from an emotion that feels so much better than, what's wrong with me that I need to fix. Right? And, how can I fix all these problems?

Tonya: And, you know, one other thing that comes up, when you were talking, is when we talk about all-or-nothing thinking, we have so many… And I see it a lot, both in residents and faculty members. I remember it in myself, where we have, whatever you want to call it, competing values or competing priorities. But just making room for polarities.

I want structure in my day. Also, I would like to have flexibility, right? I want to take care of myself and prioritize me. And, I want to be a good team player. And then, just like wanting to be autonomous and not micromanage, yet wanting to feel safe. And know that we’re doing all the right things for the patients, right?

And making room so that both of those exist, and they're not mutually exclusive. That's a whole different tangent. But I do spend a lot of time talking about those healthy tensions that exist in our day-to-day world.

Kristi: I love that you brought that up. Because I think that's a really key component when it comes to intentionally making changes in your life. We oftentimes struggle because, like you said, part of us wants autonomy and a part of us wants security and safety, that comes from being in connection and having guidance.

And we think, “Okay, what is wrong with me that I want these things that compete? And, how can they actually exist?” Well, they can actually both exist, because there's more overlap than we realize. Or, even if there's not overlap, those healthy tensions, to use your phrase, sort of brings the variety to our lives.

And so, you don't have to have one or the other, you can do the both and then figure out creatively; how can I have both of these? So, that's such a great thing. And particularly like when you're thinking about residents and trainees. So, you know, for somebody who's listening to this, whether they are a resident training or they are somebody who is, you know, in charge of institutional changes in education. Can you tell them a little bit about what you're doing with bringing coaching to medical trainees?

Tonya: I partner with family medicine residency, and I bring in what I call a “hybrid program.” So, that involves some group coaching, we talked about the importance of that piece. And, I also ground those group coaching sessions with a topic that is worthwhile for professional fulfillment. And then, we have a group coaching discussion.

Each individual within the group is able to access one-on-one coaching with me, in addition. Because there are some things that they may not want to unpack in front of everybody. We have a longer period of time to do that. So, I do that both with residents and I do that with faculty.

I partner with the University of Washington Madigan Hybrid Coaching Program for faculty development there. And several other residencies, where I work either with residents or with faculty. And in particular, one of the best examples, is a program that has me work with their R2s every year. Because they think that's just a crucial time, when they’re becoming the senior on service.

And so, I get them for the first 10 weeks, where we do six group coaching sessions. And, each one of them gets 3 one-on-one sessions with me. They can trade with somebody who's like, I really don't want to do it. They're not forced to do it. They can give it to somebody who wants more. But in general, they usually all take their three.

And, I just think that that is so important. And then as faculty, we take a lot of habits from residency into being attendings. Knowing that they want to model good self-care, a balanced life, and they still want to teach excellence in medicine. And helping them work through what that looks like, for themselves.

Usually, in the group coaching sessions, even though we're coaching around their own personal lives or their professional lives, they often want to know how they can take some skills that they can utilize to pass down to residents. So, if you think about it, this is just really exponential in the touch points. Because those faculty members learn things that every resident they come into contact with, that they will be able to pass down. So, it really elevates the culture of the program.

That's kind of what I'm doing right now.

Kristi: I just want to highlight and emphasize for people listening, you know, Tonya and I, when we got on the call, like, we're sort of chatting before we started recording. Talking about how meaningful this would have been for us, to have this type of a scaffolding and all these great conversations during our training.

At this particular time in history, and this particular moment with how the culture of medicine is right now, I think is really ripe for this type of change. It's a perfect time for this, even though part of me wishes I could go back in time, and I could be one of the residents who gets to enjoy what you're doing.

One of the things that I really like to make sure that I do on this podcast, is to keep things really practical and to offer something tangible. So, one of the things that has crossed my mind is that I'm thinking about you working with residents. And I know that one of your primary focuses is helping people who are, whether they're faculty or their residents, reduce unnecessary suffering.

So, if somebody's listening to this, and they're like; wow, this sounds amazing. And I would really love to work on some of these things that Tonya mentions. That sounds great.

But they don't really even know where to start, because they're busy, and they're not really sure. Can you think of something that would be easy for them to incorporate into their week? That might be one small, doable thing that might help them sort of bring some awareness to some of this? In a way that would give a little relief?

Tonya: This was not the original thought that I was going to offer here. But I think that this is important because I'm trying to think of things that would be helpful, no matter if they're attendings or trainees. And I think one of the biggest things that every single physician can do, is carve out time to reflect.

There is power in coaching. There's power in journaling. There's power in learning mindfulness. But even before you access those things, if you can just take five minutes, like it doesn't even have to be long, and just like write down all the stuff that's in your head. Look at it, move it away from those emotional centers over to our verbal cortex, so you can become more of an objective observer.

Sometimes, we right size things when we do that because our brain’s like on full alert. And really, there's nothing urgent. Other times, we get clarity when we do that. Other times, we realize all this stuff taking up brain space, it’s not actionable. There's not anything you can do about it. And so, that really highlights the things that fall out. That; oh, this is something I can do to really improve life.

So, I think just carving out time, to take a little bit of time, to do that exercise is huge.

Kristi: Yeah, I can imagine somebody who's thinking, “Well, you know, I'm working these many hours a week. I barely sleep. I barely can do brush my teeth or shower, or eat. How do I have five minutes? My offering would be, first, I hear you. Yes. Having been there, done that, both of us understand how much of a pressure cooker that existence can feel like, sometimes.

But those five minutes can actually give you more time. Because when you can take whatever’s swirling around in your mind and place it on paper, you get that arm’s length view. If you could see me, that I'm putting my arms out in front of me, like you get that arm distance view from what's swirling around, what might feel like a maelstrom in your head.

And that distance and perspective can sometimes help you in the rest of your day, not spend so much time on that hamster wheel of, rumination, catastrophizing, all-or-nothing thinking. Because you have that little bit of perspective. So, it might seem like an immense commitment, yeah, five minutes. And, I totally get that. But it really is a time-saver and an energy saver, in the long run.

Tonya: It's true, like when you have a full day, your brain is not going to say, “Oh, sure, we have time to take five minutes.” So, it's one of those things you've got to practice, and see the benefit. Just try it. Force yourself. Cut it out. And what you'll realize, not only does it decrease that mental load, but also makes you much more able to be effective, efficient, and present for the rest of your day, which is going to go a long way.

Kristi: Yeah, absolutely. So, I highly encourage everybody to try that exercise. I appreciate you coming up with that on the spot. But I know that you could probably give us two hours of amazing tools. So, that was a really beautiful one.

For the people who are listening, who want to reach out, connect with you, learn more, how can they find you?

Tonya: Yeah, they can go to my website. It's www.JoyandFamilyMedicine.com. And, I also have a blog there. And so, there's free content; through a lot of things that I've learned over the years for residence, for faculty, for programs to look at. Until they're ready to partner with me.

But I still have openings to partner with a couple of more programs. And, I'm hoping they'll take advantage of that.

Kristi: I hope they take advantage of that, too. I predict you're not going to have openings for long, and that's great. So, thank you so much for sharing where people can find you. And I just feel, like personally, so satisfied that we got to connect here. And I know that we'll see each other in real life, at some point in time, again, but thank you for your time. Thank you for sharing so much wisdom.

Tonya: Thank you, Kristi. And thank you for all the important work that you're doing, and helping so many people who tune into your podcast from week to week, and those who are fortunate enough to coach with you.

Kristi: That is so kind of you to say. Take care, and definitely, let's do it again.

Tonya: Sounds good.

Kristi: Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. As the podcast is approaching being one year old, I'm so excited. And I'm hoping to get more reviews and ratings, so the podcast can get into the ears of even more people who want to stop living their lives on autopilot.

So, if you haven't yet taken a moment to leave the podcast a review on iTunes, it would mean so much to me if you did. The more reviews the podcast gets, the easier it is for people to discover it. Thank you so much, and I will talk to you in the next episode.

If you want to learn more about how to better understand your patterns, stop feeling reactionary, and get back into the proverbial driver’s seat with your habits, you’ll want to join my email list. Which, you can find linked in the show notes, or if you go to HabitsOnPurpose.com, you’ll find it right there.

Thanks for listening to Habits On Purpose. If you want more information on Kristi Angevine or the resources from the podcast, visit HabitsOnPurpose.com. Tune in next week for another episode.

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