I just returned from one of the best conferences I’ve attended in 25 years in medicine. Hundreds of physicians gathered at the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix to grow together, recharge, and focus on ways to do better as physicians and as human beings in the chaos of modern medicine. This was a practical conference with a coaching thread incorporated into each day to move all of us closer to achieving our goals, hopes, and dreams. Along the way, many of us were surprised by new insights, energy, and unexpected sights and sounds — like spotting baby birds nestled peacefully with their mom on their high cactus home.

The 2019 AAFP Physician Health and Wellbeing Conference provided many opportunities to reconnect with ourselves and with one another. I loved making new friends, strengthening old friendships, and setting aside time for quiet reflection and planning. Surprises abounded, like opportunities to paint masks, play “Slow Mo Fight” with new friends, and even do “the wave” in a room full of doctors. Morning walks out in nature brought more surprises, from hummingbirds, lizards, and rabbits to a sandy, dry, and distinctive beauty all around.

Transitioning back to our normal routines after inspiring conferences like this one can be challenging, and it helps to remember this is a time of opportunity. The habits we nurtured intentionally this week can become part of our daily routine by continuing to prioritize our wellness.

So consider what these changes were for you. Was it a choice to eat more colorful, nutrient-rich foods or to walk or bike for 20 minutes each day? Did you decide to nurture a relationship you value in more meaningful and consistent ways? Perhaps you decided to reach out to someone at work who can help you be more efficient or work in ways that are more congruent with your values. Did you start writing your personal mission statement and consider new ways to live out your values? Whatever you chose to focus on, I’d like to remind you that You Can Do This!

Also, remember it’s often easier to “get it done” with a buddy, so consider reaching out to someone who can walk alongside you as you encourage each other to reach your goals.

As you return to your weekly routines, reminding yourself of your “why” can keep you in active pursuit of the changes you know will make you a healthier, more joyful person. As you continue to move toward your hopes and dreams, remember to be good to yourself!

Photo credits © 2019 Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever

Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD (Dr. Mari)

I am the author of Recapturing Joy In Medicine and I am passionate about physician wellness, burnout prevention, and Helping Docs Thrive™ in the midst of a broken system in constant flux. As a coach for physicians, I love helping my colleagues develop their strengths, recapture their original calling into medicine, and embark on a path to greater joy, meaning, and purpose in medicine and in life.

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