Beat Down Burnout

Mindfulness Isn’t a Cure for Incivility

I want to take this opportunity to share something with you today, something that came across my social media. It was an inspirational comment that said something like, ‘Remember back to when you loved being in healthcare. Remember when you loved doing what you do. Remember how much joy that brought you. Now, turn that joy on you, for that is the self-care that you deserve.’ This isn’t an exact quote, as I don’t have that information in front of me. The commentary went on to say that you may need to meditate on this for 30-60 minutes to regain that feeling of joy, before you can feel like you are holding it in your hands, and then turn it back on yourself.

I think this is a wonderful sentiment (cute, but not evidence-based). I tried to do this. I did, but here’s the thing. There’s been too much pain, too much incivility, too much backstabbing, too much loss of trust for this to succeed. There’s been too much loss of trust between me and the employers who are supposed to be providing a safe workplace; loss of trust between me and colleagues who are supposed to be honest with me about what is actually going on with my patients, or patients that we share. I just don’t believe that there is any amount of mindfulness that is going to bring that back.

Now, if you can do this meditation and bring joy back, I think that’s wonderful. I think that’s great and I’m very happy for you. I do believe that mindfulness helps some things. I practice mindfulness roughly an hour every morning. However, there is something you should know about mindfulness. You cannot push it on someone who is not ready or not interested. That’s just not logical. Research shows that forced mindfulness can actually make things worse. So, if your organization is expecting you to complete mindfulness modules that you do not want, you need to remind them that forced mindfulness does not work and can actually make things worse.

What does work, then? Open, honest communication. Communication that honors both the speaker and the listener does work! It rebuilds trust. This is communication that speaks to the core values of both parties. That works. If you’d like more information, let me know. This type of communication speaks to all 6 factors of burnout as outlined by Christina Masloch. This is what we do here at Beat Down Burnout. We deal with addressing the 6 factors of burnout. Unlike most trainings or organizations that deal with burnout, we start with values and work from there. We don’t start with workload, or autonomy. We start with values. Everyone has values. When you address burnout by starting with values, specifically core values, you make a real difference. You make people matter.

So, yes, if you can get back in touch with those feelings, and bring joy back into your work life and your profession, then I’m happy for you. Keep doing that. If you can then do that inward and turn that joy and that happiness on yourself, that’s even better. However, if you’ve reached the point where you need more, then take that action and reach out to me down below. I’m Nan Nuessle, MD, Coach and CEO of Beat Down Burnout and I’m here to help.

Nanette Nuessle