You have definitely heard the rumblings: BURNOUT.  While many front line docs have known it’s a problem for some time, some institutions are beginning to realize the threat and offer solutions.  You may be thinking, “Right, more programs that take up free time. How about less hours, more compensation?”

Whether we think we are at risk for burnout or not, we’ve all felt it. More patients, greater complexity, screen-time over face-time, and overall less satisfaction. Remember those early days of training? As medical students we were excited about patient care and felt moved when we saw science, humanity and healing come together for a patient. Do you miss that? Many of us have lost the enthusiasm for our work, and instead, have gained cynicism.

Well, the good news is there are ways to reclaim a piece of that passion. Last year’s annual Heart and Science of Yoga conference provided a beautiful opportunity to learn and practice many strategies, all while earning a generous 30 CME credits.

Sponsored by the American Meditation Institute, a non-profit organization, the annual conference is geared towards physicians but open to all, with no prior knowledge or skill of yoga needed. The conference was led by Leonard Perlmutter, an inspiring source of practical wisdom, with guest lecturers ranging from prominent meditation researchers, to everyday physicians who have transformed their lives with the techniques presented. The core curriculum included plenty of guided meditations as well as insightful lectures on the philosophy and science of yoga. Basic introductions to Ayurveda, plant-based medicine, and holistic approaches were also included.

Attending the conference at a resort with access to a full spa was an added perk. After four days of yogic lectures, vegetarian meals, and spa evenings I definitely felt “well” again.  As the conference promised, I returned home with a practical tool-box to achieve a state of peace, even in times of stress or disappointment.

Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort, Lenox, Massachusetts Photo Credit: Negean Afifi, DO

Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort, Lenox, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Negean Afifi, DO

The most valuable skill was learning to quiet the mind and access the inner self – a profound wisdom that lies within all of us and can guide us through the daily nuances of work and life. Quieting the mind leads to developing an understanding of the more subtle aspects of the mind and body, which are invaluable in maintaining mental and physical health.

Whether you choose to attend the next Heart and Science of Yoga conference or any other wellness conference, or simply getting away for one or two nights at a local hotel or spa, the answer to burnout is an individual and proactive approach, so I encourage you to get on it!

By Negean Afifi, DO
Emergency Medicine, LAMC

Editor’s Note: Dr. Afifi learned about the Heart and Science of Yoga Conference through this website.  Below are links to upcoming wellness events.

March 15-19 2017 SCPMG Physician Wellness Retreat at Canyon Ranch
Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

April 28-29 2017 Jeffrey Weisz, MD, Wellness Conference
Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village

October 24-28 2017 Heart and Science of Yoga Conference
Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort, Lenox, Massachusetts