The Revitalize Blog


Top 10 Revitalizations for 2023

personal development relationships work-life harmony Dec 28, 2023

Blog written by, Dr. Andrea Austin, MD, Chief Innovation and Learning Officer of Revitalize

Revitalization is defined by the Oxford dictionary as the action imbuing something with new life and vitality. When thinking about revitalizing our personal and professional lives, a great place to start is what fills your cup? Vitality refers to being strong and having energy, thinking back to 2023, what energized you? So much of a career in medicine is about surviving, the next exam, the next rotation, the next promotion. This year I decided that survival was not enough. I deserved to thrive, and to thrive, I needed to revitalize my personal and professional life. There were many small and big revitalizations that made 2023 a year that nevertheless, I thrived:


  1. Stop going at it alone. A lesson I learn over, and over again. As doctors, we’re are capable of learning endless amounts of information. We were also programmed during our training to get it done, figure it out, and buck stops with us. That type of thinking really doesn’t work as we progress in our careers. As I tackled a large project at work this year, the biggest wins started when I stopped trying to fix everything myself, and started asking who could help me? It turned out, it wasn’t just one person in the hospital, there were teams of people that had more expertise and the bandwidth to tackle some of the thorniest problems I had been spinning out on.

  2. You can’t do it all, really. We are great plate spinners. Also, faulty programming from medical school and residency, we are so accustomed to cramming more in. In the last few months of this year, I realized I was running out of gas. I was spread way too thin, and there were some items on my list that I was holding onto out of fear of what it meant to let them go. After a coaching session with Sharee Johnson, I uncovered what was holding me back from making some changes to do what I really want. I want more time to do deep work, that really requires my expertise.

  3. Drop the scarcity fallacy. Sometimes we get tripped up when we compete for the same pie. The best moments of 2023 were when I found ways to expand the pie. What does that look like? Asked to take the lead on a project at work your bandwidth is low, think about who might be looking for an opportunity for more visibility and could benefit from the opportunity.

  4. Make the To Don’t List. I loved this advice from time management expert, Dr. Christina Shenvi. We can’t do it all, and so for some of us hyper-functioning people, starting with a To Don’t List will help you focus your time and energy on what matters.

  5. Therapeutic Travel is a Must. Sometimes healing is best done on the road. My mom and I hadn’t spent a lot of time together in the last ten years, and there had been a few things from my childhood that we hadn’t really processed. A trip to Ireland was a great way to protect time, create the conditions that would allow for deep conversations, and on the backdrop of the historical and cultural context that shaped my family. Dr. Naomi Lawrence-Reid and I unpack the transformative power of travel in this episode of the podcast.

    Andrea and Mary Austin together on the Cliffs of Moher in May 2023

  6. Let go of, “When I…” Earlier this year I had the unexpected opportunity to be in a fashion show featuring women doctors. I was a few pounds heavier than I wanted, and instead of turning the opportunity down, I took it. Sometimes, you only get one shot, and I’m pretty sure that was my one and only runway walk.

    Dr. Andrea Austin at WIM Summit Fashion Show wearing GreenCloud Scrubs and Enrico Cuini shoes by Taryn Rose and Tribal eyes sunglasses

  7. Embrace seasonality. As someone who lives in San Diego, I often hear, “You must miss the seasons.” The seasons are more subtle in San Diego than my early years in Iowa, but they are noticeable, if you’re paying attention. This year, we focused on eating seasonally. I changed up my exercise routine from swimming in the summer to hiking in the winter.
  8. Cultivate agency. Understandably, I went through a rather dark time during the pandemic. Healthcare is mostly a dumpster fire…but I will allow the space that it is not a complete dumpster fire. There are things that work, at least sometimes, for some people. My new mantra, I have agency. Physician voices matter. We can use our expertise to innovate to create the healthcare system our patients and colleagues deserve. Yes, the system is problematic, but don’t forget, the system is constructed by us.
  9. Practice grounded gratitude. Many of us have experienced high levels of gaslighting around the topic of gratitude. Dr. Susan David’s work on toxic positivity informs us that there is another way, we don’t have to layer on a false positivity when things are truly crappy. Instead, ground yourself in the experience. Feel your feelings. Embrace authentic moments of gratitude, such as, thanking someone that helped you during a particularly stressful day. You’re not thankful that the day was a dumpster fire, but you can be thankful for the people that made it a bit more tolerable. Dr. Linda Lawrence I discuss more tangible tips for practicing grounded gratitude in this podcast episode.
  10. No one’s job is perfect, but the bad days have to tolerable. This was a key piece of advice from podcast guest, Rip Patel. While medicine is extremely challenging, we all deserve to work in places that are safe, psychologically, emotionally and physically. It took me some time, but in my new job, I’ve learned to trust my colleagues. I will speak up when something doesn’t go right. The response has universally been empathy (wow, that was a rough shift), and compassion (empathy + an action), what could we do to make it better next time? This ties back to the idea of boundaries. Having them doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen, but when it does, how do you respond? Do you brood and bottle (learn more in Dr. David’s book Emotional Agility), or do you take an action that is in line with your boundaries and values?


The Revitalizations discussed in this blog post are in the book Revitalized, A doctor’s journey from the frontline to the heartline of medicine by Dr. Andrea Austin. Join the list to be notified on the publishing timeline for this book! If you’re tired of going at it alone and looking for a community of physicians to grow with in 2024, contact us at Revitalize. 


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