Who Got the Funk? 9 Things Therapists (Physicians) Can Do When They Want To Feel Happier

I borrowed this article I found floating around social media and adapted it to not just therapists, but all in the helping professions. Not talking about virus-induced funk, but that dreaded “blah,” “feel like $H%T,” or burn out feeling. Call it the funk or whatever you want, the article says:

“We have the same problems as our patients,” said David D. Burns, a clinical psychiatrist and author of bestselling psychology book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. And sometimes that means dealing with negative thoughts, anxiety and bad moods.”

            I know this book well. I’ve read it and referred it to patients numerous times. When caregivers are the ones that need the care, what is there left to do? The article says:

  1. Use the “30-second rule” – If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a task, chore, conflict, to-do list ― and it’s totally sabotaging your mood ― try tackling just a small piece of it – 30 seconds at a time. Hmmmmmmmm
  • Deep breathing – deep-breathing exercises can be a small, easy way to slow down and change “how we think and feel.”
  • Let yourself feel bad – accepting negative feelings “emotional fluency,” which means experiencing your emotions “without judgment or attachment.” This allows you to learn from them, use them or move on from them more easily.
  • Stop and say one nice thing about yourself – If your bad mood is caused by a mistake, or if you’re thinking negatively about yourself, interrupt that stream of consciousness by picking out one thing you like about yourself.
  • Ask yourself what you should do next ― then do I: figure out what to do next ― even if it’s just a simple task ― and then commit to doing it.
  • Take a hike – Maybe not literally, but at the very least get outdoors. Each expert said they rely heavily on this activity as a way to improve mood. Exercise is really one of the best ways to blow off stress and sadness,
  • Find a mantra that works when you’re in a bad mood – Develop a self-compassion mantra: an easy-to-memorize set of phrases to repeat when we need a compassion boost, or to create mindfulness of a situation
  • Dance it out – ok, maybe not, but the article says to do it, perhaps when no one is looking. “a great way to expel a lot of pent-up anxiety or depressive energy.”
  • Play with a pup (or another furry friend) – I like this one. Spending time with a dog, cat, or another animal can be profoundly calming and uplifting.

So I guess when you’re having a bad day from the virus, burn out, feeling that dreaded heart drop when you receive your USMLE Step 3 score report (but I passed it today, yay for me), or your going through the Match/Soap process, take some time for thyself. 

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Robert Duprey MD

Robert P. Duprey Jr studied medicine as a 2nd career medical student who went to medical school in his 40’s after honorable discharge and ‘retirement’ from 25 years in the US Military (USCG & US Army). He was a registered nurse (RN) with specialty training as a psychiatric RN in the US Army for 15 years. During this time he also became a Master’s level psychotherapist in 2002. While on US Army active duty he also became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner while working full time in 2011. He served as a Psych NP on active duty, to include a combat tour in Iraq, until his ‘retirement’ in 2014 and moved to Philippines with his 3 children. At this time he started medical school overseas at Oceania University of Medicine based out of Samoa accredited by Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). He continued to work as a Psych NP throughout medical school to support his children and to not have to take out loans for medical school tuition. Originally from Rhode Island, he completed medical school clerkship rotations throughout the USA with a graduation in May 2019 earning the esteemed credential of MD. He has successfully completed USMLE Steps 1, 2CS, and 2CK. He will take Step 3 this September as he applies for Psychiatry Residency. Having been and RN, NP and now MD, he is a believer of Physician led multidisciplinary healthcare teams 

  1 comment for “Who Got the Funk? 9 Things Therapists (Physicians) Can Do When They Want To Feel Happier

  1. Kurt
    March 25, 2020 at 8:19 am

    Retire when you can. It will be the best thing you can do unless you don’t have to take call, do hospital practice and can see enough patients to make ends meet. Otherwise, bail while you can.

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