Look Who’s Talking features different voices across the Brigham answering the same question once a month. This month, we asked our community about the passions, hobbies and activities they use to help fight burnout, especially as the pandemic stretches on. If you’d like to join the conversation, feel free to submit a comment at the bottom of the page.
“My outlet for stress is training in mixed martial arts, with a recent focus on jiu-jitsu. It may be counter-intuitive, but physically fighting against others has taught me to stay calm under pressure and puts work stresses in a different perspective. When training has been limited by pandemic restrictions, I train at home with mats and heavy bags.” — Louis L. Nguyen, MD, MBA, MPH, Vascular & Endovascular Surgery, Vice Chair for Digital Health Systems, Department of Surgery
“In my opinion, cooking is the best remedy for stress. Cooking with a purpose has elevated my hobby to an entirely new level. ‘What purpose?’ you may ask. Making each meal special for my family by preparing dishes together, learning about cooking traditions around the world, watching cooking competitions, recreating the recipes and, most importantly, gathering around the table and eat together. I look forward to our Sunday brunches that have become a family tradition over the last two years. By the way, remember ‘stressed’ spelled backwards is ‘desserts’! — Olga Pozdnyakova, MD, Associate Pathologist, Pathology Department
“Dealing with stress for me requires multiple tools. I’d say making sure I get to exercise as frequently as possible is one, but especially getting to play tennis is one of my favorite things to do. Spending time with friends, family and loved ones is another staple, be it in person, or catching up over the phone. The third one is art, specifically music and comedy. Those two are like a balm to my soul.” — Max Jordan Nguemeni Tiako, MD, MS, Resident, Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care
“I write to help make sense of the uncertainty, suffering and resilience that I witness in my clinical work with patients, amid the time constraints and competing demands in the office. Putting my reflections into words allows me to think more deeply and brings me back to the complex human beings at the core of medicine. I also find a source of meaning in the hope that my stories will resonate with others and help them find moments of their own clarity or insight.” — Eve Rittenberg, MD, Primary Care Physician, Fish Center for Women’s Health
“I have a personal passion for the environment. Several years ago, we bought 150 acres of coastal forest in Maine. We have been growing native trees from seeds in our greenhouse and reforesting this land one tree at a time. Our hope is that 100 years from now this land is preserved for others to enjoy. This work is supported by the National Resources Conservation Service of the USDA. I think taking your mind away from the daily stresses and finding something bigger than yourself is important.” — Simon Talbot, MD, Attending Plastic Surgeon, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
“To me, it’s finding my creative outlet. Cardmaking and crafting has allowed me to tap into that creative side and express myself in a different way that feels nourishing, loving and beautiful. It’s given me so much joy and focus away from so much of the heartache and the crisis that we’ve all been living through. And nothing makes me happier than to hear from someone who liked my card. That is just so nice and it brings a smile to my face.” — Mardi Chadwick, Program Director, Violence Intervention and Prevention, Center for Community Health and Health Equity (Read more about Chadwick’s cardmaking in Brigham Bulletin)