Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2011

Happy Holidays from PracticeBalance!

Thanks for your support of this newly-launched blog.  I've already had great feedback through Facebook, and I've made several unexpected connections with others who wanted to share their feelings of stress or lack of balance.  PB will be back in the new year with more personal stories and content. Have a wonderful holiday!

From Fuel Shortage to Chronic Symptoms

In his book Is It Worth Dying For?,  Robert Eliot describes his experiences with stress, culminating in his own heart attack on the job.  He identifies five stages on the downward spiral to burnout: Job Contentment, Fuel Shortage, Chronic Symptoms, Crisis, and Hitting the Wall.  Here, I continue with my journey from a fuel shortage state to the recognition of some serious health problems.  

The Annual In-Training Examination, a practice board exam of sorts, loomed forth.  Score expectations were high at my level of training.  All the while fulfilling clinical duties, volunteering to write case reports for publication and pioneering a new research project, I resolved to crush the exam.  My studies spilled over into the weekends and free afternoons, leaving little time for my husband or any self-care.  In my efforts to lose the weight I had gained over the past two years, I was waking up extra early to perform short bursts of exercise in addition to eating a very restrictive diet.  Howe…

The anatomy of stress

Before I continue with my own personal navigation toward balance, I want to define some terms and alert you to the potential problems that unmanaged stress may cause.

"Stress is the spice of life; complete freedom from stress only comes in death." - Hans Selye, MD

This quote from the originator of the concept, cultivated back in the 1950s, says it all.  Of course, stress and our responses to it have been around since the origin of living species.  The oft-termed "fight or flight" response of our sympathetic nervous system served a very important purpose in our primitive days, as humans fought for our food, shelter, and the like.  How does such a system built into our DNA in order to protect us cause so much harm in today's modern, professional lifestyles?

Stress becomes an issue when demands on us outpace our ability to respond.  Our internal homeostasis becomes unbalanced, resulting in perturbations of the autonomic nervous system, hypophyseal-pituitary-adrenal…