Sunday, December 1, 2019

Time to Think

Lately, life has felt like a never ending treadmill session---just going and going and going without a moment to pause, think, recalibrate. Part of this is the change on my work situation---full day clinic sessions leave zero time for planning and introspection---just see the next patient and the next and the next, trying to finish documentation, make phone calls, and put out other fires in between. If there is an unexpected break (because of patients not showing up, usually) I am still in a busy touchdown room with up to 10 other people and lots of conversations going on around me.

Then its straight home for a few hours of non-stop chatter from the kids (seriously they will. not. ever. stop talking and asking me questions and bickering and arguing) until 9 pm (or later) when they fall asleep stop getting out of bed and I zone out however I can* before going to bed myself. Weekends are similar---whether we are at home or away, there is constant interactions with G, the kids, their friends, our friends, family, etc... and often trying to fit in work these days, too.

I'm an introvert. I need some time to myself to recharge. And I've been SO reactive and quick to anger at the kids and...everyone really. I've found myself being much more negative about work and home life overall and I feel like EVERYTHING, even the supposedly fun things, are just a slog to get through before I can finally be alone and go to bed. Its not a great way to get through life, and I want to be more intentional and mindful about the things I do every day. Because the things I do everyday IS my life, and if it is truly all a dreaded slog then it needs to change!

I escaped to the basement today to work on a talk I am giving later this week (these talks sneak up on me, and I just don't have the space in my clinic-heavy workdays to do this kind of work (Even though its an integral part of my job description---more on that another day, or not). I'm taking a few extra minutes to make a to-do list for the week, plan out workouts and errands, and write here.

I realize that I need to build in a morning routine that involves thinking & planning, instead of trying to simply get another chapter read in my current book, or worse---scrolling social media and news---while I drink my coffee before heading to the basement for my quick workout/quick shower/race to work. Maybe also 10-15 minutes after a clinic day to retreat to my office to journal, and simply decompress. I have my 2020 planner and haven't even started it!

On the docket today: work on talk (amalgamation of two different talks I've given previously, with updated lit review and data), finalize invite/guest list for B's birthday party, re-write and post baby sitter ad on all possible sites (yes, this is still an ongoing saga), and make dinner casserole. G is taking the boys to a birthday party at the science museum and...I don't know or care what else they do I just can't be involved for a few hours.

December goal: phone-free morning routine, meditate 5 minutes/day (maybe will help with reactivity? I think it did when I was doing it regularly in the past but its been...months), journal after work or at night

*this is where the unhealthy habits often kick in---the wine, the chips, the scrolling. On the best days, I simply put myself to bed extra early so there is no time for that. 


  1. Oh, man, I hear you. Tiny Boy does not stop talking except if he is watching TV and even then it's a dicey proposition. And although I only teach twice a week, I find myself on campus an additional two days most weeks for ALL THE MEETINGS. It's just too much human contact and also not enough time to actually think much less do meaningful deep work.

    No advice here, but lots of commiseration!

  2. Yep. I like what I do clinically but it is incredibly draining. You’re describing what my training felt like to me all these years, and oh god I cannot keep doing that. Are you getting any non clinical time these days? Is that time any better? I don’t mind working weekends but I can’t feel like I am drowning all the time. It’s no way to go through life.

  3. I'm a primary care doc so...if I'm at work, I'm running like a waitress at a busy diner. And I have two lovely little kids wanting ALL my attention at home. The only way I stay sane is a) I'm only in clinic 3 days per week and b) I'm only with my kids about 40% of the time on my non-clinic days. Otherwise I go to yoga, fold laundry in silence, run errands in silence etc. And c) my husband gets it and send me out running or yoga-ing on the weekends.
    I don't know if you can arrange your life in anyway to get yourself some alone time. Can the evening sitter stay later? Come on Sunday afternoon? Work fewer long a$$ days and then get a morning off? (this is what I did, in addition to working <1 FTE, and its so worth it)

  4. I am now super appreciative that my mom had the patience to listen to my constant chatter..all waking hours. Omg! She always listened and I have no idea how she could put up with it. From my selfish kid perspective it made me feel like I could always speak about my worries and that she would listen. Sometimes I circled on a silly topic until I got to what worried me, and maybe she picked up on that and made sure to listen to the silly stuff. I don't have kids for now, and being an introvert I am not sure I have her endurance :-)