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covid podcast Mar 22, 2020

Family Docs, Hasn't the World Changed in the last 6 weeks!

Hardly recognizable for many of us!

You are still highly valued and able to provide the best care for your patients.

You may be struggling with:

 - Adapting to change

 - Managing Phone Consultations with Patients

 - Working from Home Efficiently

Coaching with an experienced Family Physician Coach in any area that you are struggling is so valuable

Try it out!

I look forward to working with you

And please enjoy the Podcast episode!

Warmest Regards

Sarah, the Charting Coach

TRANSCRIPT: Welcome to a very special edition of “Remind me why I’m a Family Doc” podcast!

 I'm Sarah Smith, Rural Family Doctor and I am also the Charting Coach.

I want to discuss the mental burden of a pandemic


Right now Family doctors are trying to keep ahead of the pandemic.

You are scouring the internet for credible sources of information

You are Evaluating that information

You are Using the information to help them make decisions to best care for their patients


Additionally you may be trying to upskill in areas that you haven’t used for a very long time


You are scared for your family

For your own health

And fearful that despite your best efforts it won’t be enough


In this episode we are going to be talking about mental energy and the feelings that drive productive energy rather than spinning in overwhelm and fear


I want to pause for a moment and acknowledge just how amazing you are

Your patients rely on you for your expertise in this time

You are innovative

You are a leader

Even if reluctantly


Let’s start with Information gathering and learning

What is the feeling that drives this quest for information

Is it anxiety

Take a moment to consider how anxiety feels in your body

Heavy, hurried, nauseated

What are you thinking that is creating that feeling for you

Start to be aware of what that story is that is playing in your head

Thoughts such as “there’s so much to know”, “I can’t figure this out”, ”what am I missing”

These thoughts create anxiety

And anxiety feels terrible in our bodies.

When you are anxious you search frantically for answers

You take a long time to understand what you are reading

You retain very little of the information the first time you read it

You believe anything and everything.


So lets stop and consider something

The world has never had a covid-19 pandemic before

But is has had other pandemics

Other countries have had a few additional weeks to have tried and tested different strategies


Now consider the thought: “I wonder what the experts are saying”

What is the most valuable information here


See what these questions do to your body.

For me, these thoughts make me curious and engaged

I read the information looking for credibility

For anything useful to me in my space in the world

I capture important information and email it to myself

And I get to keep my power and find the most valuable information to you.


As you are reading and learning

Start to be curious about the thoughts you are saying to yourself

And how you are feeling

With the right energy you will be way more effective in the acquisition of useful knowledge

Alright let’s talk about those email inboxes!

So much fun right? Wrong!

I have heard from many of you that your emails inboxes are exploding

You may have also taken on additional roles within leadership in your area

Now there are relevant and irrelevant emails flooding your inbox


You used to pride yourself on an empty inbox every day

But to achieve this would mean sacrificing significant time with your family


Did you know that 250 emails in your inbox if neutral

It’s neither good nor bad.

It’s just math, a number, it cannot hurt you

It is not ruining your life


So Let’s consider the Math problem of 250 emails in your inbox

And what you are making this mean

I can hear your brain adding all the drama!

“I don’t have enough time”,  “I’m never going to get all of this done”, “I can’t do this”

This will exhaust you and bring overwhelm


What happens when you open your inbox when you are feeling overwhelmed?

You stare at it

You don’t make decisions

It’s hard to focus

You go looking for cookies, facebook or just break down in floods of tears

It’s not pretty

And what’s even worse is that it is creating the result that you won’t ever get it all done.


So what’s there to do instead.

How do you want o feel when you open that inbox.

For me it’s fast and focused

That is my most productive feeling


So let’s review the facts – 250 emails

I’m going to practice the thought ”I will do what I can in 60 minutes”

The feeling is fast and focused


I set a timer and get to work

Fast and focused

B minus work

No lengthy paragraph replies

Short, concise and to the point


And always with kindness towards yourself

You get to believe you are amazing



Now the result is that I did what I could in 60 minutes

And it’s double the work compared to when I was overwhelmed


Can you imagine?

Getting double the work done?

It feels great!


So now you have 80 emails left

What are you going to make that mean

You get to choose the story you tell yourself about having unfinished emails in your inbox

You can choose to add suffering

Tell yourself a really good story about how inadequate you are

But you know what

I choose to never beat myself up

The world does not hang on an email

If it’s important someone will find you by phone


80 remaining emails is a math problem

Completely neutral

It’s nothing to do with who you are as a person

That’s just the story you are choosing to think

And it’s completely optional.

Isn’t that awesome!!


OK Family Docs

Let’s discuss one more important topic



You are an innovator

A pioneer

And you busy yourself with knowledge, learning, planning

Then you start to disregard your boundaries

You stop giving yourself valuable thinking and planning time in the say hours

Using up valuable time learning, conversing on social media

Alternatively you spend the evening trying not to think about it

Couch, TV, Facebook, alcohol

You own special poison


Boundaries such as bedtime get ignored

Then you get into bed and your brain starts to create ideas and plans

Or it spins in overwhelm, anxiety and fear.


Family Docs your mental health is of paramount importance in this pandemic

Good quality rest

Restorative sleep


So start to be curious about what happens at bedtime

When the lights are out

What happens and why


Does your brain get creative

Does it Start to innovate and find ideas

Solutions or new plans


If that’s happening then you need to carve out time in the day or evening to give your brain time to be creative and innovative. No distractions. No facebook.

For you this might be outdoors

Or resting on the couch

Or sitting with pen and paper

Asking yourself powerful questions such as

“What would be the most simple solution”

“If I did know how to do that, what would the answer be”


Try it out

You are designed to be innovative and creative


And for you who are anxious and scared

And the nighttime brings out these fears

What are you truly scared of

Loss of Money

Death of yourself or your family



Did you know that it’s normal for your brain to want to go to the worst case scenario

It will take any opportunity to come up with disaster

It’s like a sugar rush

It’s addictive


There’s a few things to know about this

First – there are physician coaches who would love to take you through your deepest fears and really explore them with you and help you develop your own strategies against this worst case scenario

Second – Physicians may become depressed or may be having true PTSD from previous similar career events. Please seek professional help. You are worth it. You are valued and You are not Alone.

Third – writing down all your thoughts on paper is a very valuable tool.

Seeing your thoughts in pencil on paper can make them less painful

Sometimes even comical

We call this the thought download

Bringing awareness to the thoughts you are having around the covid pandemic and then starting to question if these thoughts are true and if they are serving you


The important thing to know is there are facts in the world that are out of your control

And there are facts in the world that you have some capacity to influence

Start to notice what is taking your attention

Is it doom and negativity

Is that all you are allowing yourself to see

Can you start to see the human ingenuity?

The kindness

The strength

Start to see your role in the solution

Cast off fear

It’s not helping you reach your destination

The destination of restorative slumber


Bring gratitude

Bring Love


It has been my delight to be in this space with you today

I look forward to chatting with you next time

On “Remind me why I’m a Family Physician Podcast”


And a reminder

If you are looking for a physician coach

To help you with your office efficiency and getting home with your charting done

I would love to help you

xx Sarah, the Charting Coach

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