I Should Be Able To Do It All On My Own

I recently had one of my most amazing days in a long time.  My husband and I were in Florida finally getting a chance to see his father for the first time since before the pandemic and, as it was also our first official trip since 2019, we packed in the fun. 

On one particular day we took a drive to Blue Spring and walked along the shore watching a record number of manatees go about their business in the relatively warm waters. Manatees are my absolute favorite wild animal. I’ve been to this spring once before, but this time the raw numbers of animals just made it incredibly special.

From there we spent the afternoon exploring the local beer scene.  As we own a brewery in our local community, we always enjoy exploring the beer scenes in different locations and this local scene has grown considerably since we last visited.

Finally, we capped off the day watching the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket take off while enjoying dinner at my absolute favorite spot for fresh fried fish.  It was just a magical day and only one example of the wonderful experiences we had during our recent trip.

Of course, I’m not writing this to share my vacation details with you although I HIGHLY recommend viewing manatees in the wild.  I’m writing this because, while I was having one of my best days, I was constantly thinking that I shouldn’t have gone on vacation at all.

I kept coming back to my thoughts – I was going to get sick or my flights home were going to get delayed or canceled and then I wouldn’t be able to work my scheduled shifts and then someone would have to cover for me. 

The fear of this possibility has paralyzed me during this pandemic.  I stopped worrying about my personal risk of getting Covid a long time ago.  Once I was fully vaccinated, I figured that, even if I did get sick, the chance of severe illness was small enough that I released that worry back into the wild. However, I have yet to let go of the worry that I will contract Covid doing “something fun” and then need to have someone else cover shifts for me.

After all,  I should be able to schedule my life in a way that allows me to do everything all the time without ever needing anyone else’s help. Right?

Sound familiar?  If you’ve gone through medical training, I imagine it does.

We wear our self-sacrifice in medicine the way a supermodel owns the runway in a designer gown.  We are also taught to be indestructible or at least to appear that way.  Calling in sick and, therefore, relying on someone else for help is not only discouraged but a source of great shame.  It becomes a debt that you now owe to someone with whom you work and one that must be repaid.

We need to do better.  There is nothing healthy about enjoying an incredible day on vacation while, at the same time, you’re “shoulding” all over it creating fear and guilt over possibly not being able to work future shifts.  We need to normalize living our lives and allow it to be ok to ask for help if you need it.

How do we do that?

It’s easy.  We live our lives and we ask for help when we need it. 

We become the example of the new normal. We show people around us that we can be both strong, capable, badass professionals while also embracing the rest of our lives.  Then if or rather when we get sick or our flights get canceled, we ask for help.  We don’t do this from a place of guilt or shame, but instead from a place of understanding.  Sometimes even the best laid plans go to shit.

We also afford the same grace to our colleagues.  I want my partners and the staff with whom I work to know that I’ve got their backs.  I don’t care why you can’t make it to work when I’m on call.  It’s not my job to judge you.  I would rather give you the benefit of the doubt and just help you.

Have you ever spent a day just believing that everyone around you is doing their absolute best?  It’s pretty revolutionary.  I suggest you try it. 

Until then, stop “shoulding” on the rest of your life in order to be available for work.  If you’d like help learning how to do that, please sign up for my free course How To Feel Better On Your Next Shift.  Don’t forget to email me at hello@unicorndoctor.com if you have further questions about coaching.