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Finding Balance With Dr. Tanya Dall

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Do you feel something is missing in your life? What do you wish you could do more of? It’s time to put it on the calendar. After today’s episode, you will understand why.

Dr. Tanya Dall is an emergency medicine, wife, and mom...but not necessarily in that order. This week, we discuss finding balance between work in the emergency department and at home. We will also hear about Dr. Dall's journey into medicine, how she chose emergency medicine, and how she has been able to accomplish all of that while also raising a family. This is an episode you don't want to miss!


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Finding Balance With Dr. Tanya Dall

We're talking to Dr. Tanya Dall. Dr. Dall is an Emergency Physician in Southern California who also works in rural medicine in Arizona. She's also a wife and a mom of two. Welcome, Dr. Dall.

Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.

We're going to talk a little bit about balance and finding balance, but first tell me a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up?

I grew up an Army brat. Where I grew up is hard to say because I grew up everywhere. I was born in North Carolina, Fort Bragg. We spent a couple of years in Germany, a few different places in Virginia, Panama, down in Central America, which was an experience I could talk for hours about. I ended up in middle school back in Arizona in my mom's hometown called Sierra Vista in Southern Arizona. When people ask me where I'm from, I normally say Sierra Vista, Arizona because that's where I feel like my family is and that's where my roots are. That's my early years.

I didn't know you lived in Panama.

We lived on a military base back when the Army had a base down there right next to the Canal. I lived in military housing and our backyard was the jungle. We had this big huge chain link fence that would separate our yard from the jungle and we would find holes underneath the fence, climb under, go escape and go do a bunch of adventure stuff out in the jungle. I was in my first grade. My mom called us free-range children, meaning she let us do our thing. I have a lot of stories of being in the jungle, getting into trouble, swimming with crocodiles and stuff like that.

When did you know you wanted to be a doctor?

In fifth grade after school, I would go home and we had one of those big TV that would sit on the ground with the dials and things like that. My favorite thing was to go home and turn on this show called Trauma: Life in the ER. I would not remember it except that it made such an impact on me, which is why I remember it. I would remember sitting there watching these real ER cases play out.

People would come in with gunshot wounds. It was a trauma center and they would show the resuscitations, thoracotomies or whatever on the screen. I remember being fascinated and blown away by that. That was my first look into the world of medicine in general. That's when I started thinking more about going into medicine and what that might look like.

I love that they showed the real resuscitation. One of my first memories of thinking about emergency medicine was the show ER. It's maybe not as realistic as what you described. I was still very impacted by that too. Is that what made you decide to go into emergency medicine? Did something else change later on?

That was when I started thinking about medicine. In terms of thinking about what I was going to do when I grew up back when I was little, my mom would always tell me, "You need to do something where you can support yourself and you're never going to need another person to rely on." It's always in the back of my head, I wanted to consider things that were higher-income professions because I wanted to be in a position where I wouldn't need anybody else for anything. I could provide for my family and give them anything that they would have ever wanted.

People think about being lawyers, doctors, sports and things like that. That was when I narrowed it down. Medicine interested me but also, I saw myself being able to establish that security and have that for myself and whatever family I might have one day. My first exposure to medicine was with trauma. That was where my interest always was. In college, as an undergrad, I volunteered in the emergency room. I remember seeing my first dead body.

Finding Balance: We're always trying to advocate for our patients and do what we think is best for them.

How does that affect you? You said you were an undergrad.

I was a freshman and I was volunteering in an emergency room, which meant nobody talked to me. Nobody knew I was there. I would go around and bring people blankets and restock shelves.

It's funny how you can disappear in the ER. You're doing little tasks and observing in the background.

Literally, I would sneak into rooms and stand in the corner and no one would know I was there. I would watch all the resuscitations. I’m like a fly on the wall. I remember walking by this room one day, peeking in and noticing that the guy was very pale and wasn't moving. It had a blanket up over his face. I'm like, "What's going on in there?" Nobody was in there. I peeked and snuck in and saw him. He was dead. That was the first time I ever saw a dead body. It was shocking.

Now, we see dead bodies every day and were like desensitized to them. That was an experience for sure. I did emergency medicine, volunteering as an undergrad. Fast forward to medical school. It's the third year in medical school where you get to see the different specialties. You do your rotations. You rotate to internal medicine and surgery. I did an anesthesia rotation. You can pick different things. We did psychiatry. We did pediatrics. You go through all the different rotations.

I remember hating the OR because it's freezing cold. I'm normally a little chilly and if you put me in a room that's 60 degrees all day, I was miserable. The other thing that I love to do besides being warm is eat and drink all day. In the operating room, you can't eat and drink. Now, you sit at work with your coffee. It takes at least a couple of hours to get that cup of coffee down. In the OR, you can't do that. You have to stand on your feet in one stationary position for some of these cases are 6, 7, 8 hours, even 10, 12 hours and you're standing there.

I remember that as a medical student too, where you're standing and it's like all of your bones hurt because you've been standing there for long. I had an attending who told me that sitting is the new smoking. I was like, "If that's the case, I want a cigarette so bad because I want to sit." It can be exhausting. Those cases can last forever.

You have to go pee. You get hungry. You can't do any of those things. You stand there. The OR was not for me. The other thing that was not for me was a clinic. The clinic is way too repetitive, not exciting at all. I don't find joy in talking to 30 patients a day, each for 15 minutes about their blood pressure medication. I don't find joy in that. I knew the clinic was not for me. The other thing I knew that was not for me was rounding in the hospital.

Rounding for nonmedical people, you get to the hospital super early. You log into the computer. You check all your patient’s labs and imaging. You're doing what we call like a pre-round on these people to see how they're doing. Once you have the data that you've collected, you go room to room. You go see the patient, you examine the patient and this is still pre-rounding. This isn't even the rounding.

Around 6:00 AM, you've pre-rounded on all of your patients. You've come up with plans for the patients. You go back around with the whole group this time, including the attending, the pharmacy, everybody. You go in, you formally round on the patients, you have to present the patient and tell everybody about their labs and imaging for the day, what's going on with them and what the plan is. The thing about rounding that's terrible is you will round until probably 12:00 or 1:00.

You can't put your life on hold for your medical career. You have to keep continuing to live your life and do both in parallel.

By the time that you're hungry, you think you could die. I'm a snacker. I eat every hour. I have to be eating something. If I don't eat for a couple of hours, I get really hungry. I can't make it until 1:00 PM when I get to the hospital at 4:00 AM. You round and round, you feel like it's never going to end. Rounding an inpatient medicine was not for me. I always knew I loved emergency medicine. I was making sure that I didn't want to do any of those other things. I made sure that I did not want to do those other things and then fully committed to emergency medicine.

That's such a useful exercise for medical students to hear or to go through because you need to take advantage of year 3 and year 4 of medical school to figure out what are things that I like, what are things that I don't like.

Are you saying to yourself, "How do I feel on this rotation? Am I happy, stressed, bored? Could I see myself doing this every day for 40 years?" For all those things, my answer was, "I can't even do this for six weeks. No, thanks."

You fell in love with emergency medicine. What is your favorite thing about emergency medicine?

I love the entire field of emergency medicine. I could go on and on and list a hundred things that I love about it. One of the things that I love about it is, I feel like the doctor where if something happens and somebody says, "Is there a doctor?" You don't want a dermatologist to raise their hand. You don't want a radiologist to raise their hand. Those are doctors but not like super practical and helpful.

I feel like in emergency medicine, we are literally trained to be able to handle anything that comes in the door. It's 3:00 AM. You're the only one there. A lot of the specialists are not in the hospital overnight. When something comes in, you either know how to handle it or you have enough experience and knowledge to figure out a plan about how to handle it. That is probably one of the best parts of our field. I feel like I can help. I'm always there to help no matter what happens, people can put their trust in me.

Another thing that I thought was interesting, people will say in emergency medicine, you're like a Jack of all trades but a master of none. That's BS because we are masters of resuscitation. I had this the other night. I had a guy come in with chest pain at 3:00 in the morning. The tech brings me the EKG from the front lobby. I haven't even seen this guy. He checked in, they bring me the EKG and it looks like a STEMI.

A STEMI means heart attack.

A bad news heart attack. I told the tech, "Get this guy back here right away." They bring him back to the room. I meet him in the room. I immediately start asking him, "What are you feeling? Are you having chest pain? When did this start?" All the questions to figure out to confirm that this is a STEMI. I talked to him. I decided it's a real deal. I walk out of the room and I get on the phone with the cardiologist.

I'm literally dialing the phone when he codes. He goes into V-fib, which is a cardiac arrhythmia that is not consistent with life. You cannot live with V-fib. I dropped the phone, run in there and had him back within 30 seconds to a minute. I defibrillated him and ran the code. We are masters. That's what we do. If you get a urologist and that guy codes, what do you think the urologist is going to do? I'm saying we can do resuscitation unlike anybody else. When people say masters of none, I laugh internally because I know that's not true because we can do things that probably 95% of other doctors could not do.

Having a broad perspective on medicine, we see everything every day from somebody who needs their toenails trimmed to running a code. There's a lot that we see that you may not see in other specialties. That gives us a little bit of a broader perspective to think about different diagnoses. We do tend to think the worst first. That is our job.

We have to. People will come and they'll apologize and say, "I'm so sorry. I'm wasting a bed. I shouldn't be here." I tell them, "You were worried enough to come in to be evaluated. It's my job to figure out if you have an emergency. It's not your job. It's your job to get here when you think something's wrong. It's my job to figure out what's going on." We think of the worst always.

What is your least favorite thing about emergency medicine?

Finding Balance: There’s this stigma that if you are a doctor who prioritizes anything else in your life that you're not as good a doctor.

The thing that disheartens me maybe the most is dealing with the other specialists. In the emergency room, we'll see the patient and then we'll come back to our desk. We spend half our time on the phone calling consultants, admitting patients, telling people what's going on, calling family. Sometimes when you call consultants and they are the specialist in that specific field. When you have a question and you want to call them or you need them to help you with something or you want them to see the patient and you call them. Sometimes they can be less than humble.

We're always trying to advocate for our patients and trying to do what we think is best for them. If I think the patient needs a cardiologist, I call a cardiologist. I don't need the cardiologist to be condescending and disrespectful towards me or talk down to me. Especially, I feel this as a younger female too. We don't get the inherent respect that a lot of other people would get, especially over the phone.

They're like, "Are you the doctor? Are you the PA? Are you the nurse?" They assume they're talking to a PA or a nurse. Even if you introduced yourself sometimes it can be rough on us. That can be disheartening sometimes. Your job is to be on call. You're getting paid to do that. The bare minimum is to answer the call and be on call. Don't yell at me, berate me, talk down to me or disrespect me. It happens. It's probably one of the worst parts of our job, I'd say.

That's a good point that you bring up too about how much time we spend on the phone. Especially in the emergency department, we'll see a patient and spend maybe ten minutes if we're lucky with that patient. Patient thinks that we're not doing anything for them but in reality, we're spending much time calling different consultants. We're checking labs ordering labs, trying to figure out why the patient hasn't been taken to the CT scanner or why this particular lab hasn't resulted yet. That time adds up to 30 minutes or 1 hour sometimes per patient. There goes your entire shift on the phone.

We get surveys from patients that tell us about their experience and how it was. A lot of times, I'll read those patients will say, "The doctor was in and out. They were only in the room for five minutes." People just don't understand. They don't know what goes on behind the scenes. I'll even tell people when I step out, "I'm going to step out. I'm going to review your labs. I'm going to call the hospitalists to tell them about what's going on with you. I'll be back in a while to see how you're doing." You’ve got to update. I tell people what's going on. I don't know, they'll never understand.

They might if they read this, they'll understand. You're a supermom. You had a baby during medical school and another baby shortly after the residency ended. I personally barely survived medical school without worrying about pregnancy and preparing to be a mom. Tell us a little bit about what it was like going through pregnancy during medical school because I can't imagine.

It was not easy, to say the least. My husband and I met freshman year of college so I was 18 when I met him. We got married when I was 24. We moved across the country and he stayed with me for medical school. As soon as we had moved into DC, he proposed to me. It's almost like we were together for long and there was a script of how you're supposed to go on.

"We've been together five years. What's the next step?" We go and get married. We're back and we're like, "Now, we're married. Aren't we supposed to have kids at some point?" There's this script in your head of how you're supposed to do things.

As a woman too, going through undergrad, medical school and residency like it's a long road. If you do want to have a family, you have to do it at some point in that journey.

It was my second year of medical school when I got pregnant towards the end. We wanted to get pregnant. We tried for six months to get pregnant because we knew that that was the next step. When I talk to younger trainees, they always ask for advice about this stuff. I always tell them, "This is such a long road. You can't put your life on hold for the 10 years, 11 years, 12 years, however long this is going to take. You have to keep continuing to live your life." You do them in parallel. You're doing your medical career but you're also doing your life.

I got pregnant and I had a plan in my third year of medical school. You have to do your rotations in third year and my plan was do all the hard rotations first. When the baby came, I had all the easy rotations. What that meant is I was doing all the hard rotations when I was pregnant and I went out probably a couple of days before my due date.

You did surgery when you were pregnant so you were standing for twelve hours.

When you have nightmares about something every night and it's taking a toll on you, that's when you know that something's affecting you.

It's funny because how we were talking about my experiences with other specialties and how I picked emergency medicine. Looking back, that probably shaped a lot of my opinion of surgery because what I remember is having a seven-month pregnant belly standing on my feet for eight hours. I had a surgeon, no joke, write me a review saying that I was not spatially aware. I remember this to this day and I will never forget. How can I be spatially aware when I have a ginormous basketball-sized belly that grew over the past few months? How could I be aware of that?

That was one of the most surprising things to me about pregnancy. You see women walk differently during pregnancy but you can't fully understand why until you experience it. Your muscles don't work. Your abdominal muscles don't exist. You can't sit down and sit up. You have to use your arms to support yourself when you move.

It's like your whole center of gravity changes too. You can't see your feet. How do you know if you're going to trip on something? You can't see. I did surgery and I did internal medicine where I was rounding it. I never thought of it until now but it shaped my opinions of those things, I'm sure. It was not easy. Surgery days, where I would leave in the morning and come home 16 hours to 17 hours later. Can you imagine having a 17-hour day on your feet? You can't pee. You can't eat or drink and you're 7 or 8 months pregnant.

Not being able to pee blows my mind because it's like every ten minutes.

You sit there in the OR and you don't want to be the one that asks to scrub out. You put up with it as long as you can. During that time was hard but when I finally had Lana, it paid off because I was doing like a psychiatry rotation where I would literally work three hours a day, like five days a week.

Did you have time to spend with her at home before you had to go back into rotations or how did that work?

I was off for six weeks. That was it. They told me if I took any more time that I would have to graduate late and it was big for me to graduate on time. I had a C-section because she was breached. It was six weeks with having a newborn baby, having abdominal surgery, trying to figure out the nursing, the pumping and all this stuff of being a new mom. My husband works in retail. He would work very long hours. He was working 60 hours a week. We were literally in survival mode. In the field of medicine, it's different.

We have compassion and empathy for our patients. Within the medical community, I feel like there's not necessarily always a lot of compassion and empathy for doctors as people and recognizing that we have lives and things outside of medicine. That can be tough sometimes.

It's almost a stigma that if you are a doctor, you prioritize anything else in your life that you're not a good doctor. You're not as good. It's like, "How dare you be at work and take a call from your daughter before she goes to bed."

Finding Balance: You're not supposed to see patients with your last hour, but if somebody comes in five minutes before your shift ends and they need help, you help them.

It's hard for sure. I am still in awe of you for going through all of that. Beyond pregnancy in medical school, you also had your family to balance during residency. You have a daughter and a husband. What I guess is one tip that you can give on how to survive residency, particularly for people who have kids?

It's interesting because medical school is hard but residency has been the hardest three years of my life. It’s hands down and the hardest. Other people will say sometimes that going through medical school was harder but when you have a family and you have a small child, residency is not easy. The biggest things that helped were number one, having my husband be supportive.

He would tell me, "Go to work. Give it 110%. If you stay late, that's fine. I want you to stay late. Do what you have to do." There would be nights where I would work until midnight in the ER and then we'd have a conference the next day at like 7:00 AM. I live pretty far from residency. It was probably a 45-minute drive each way. The reason we lived so far away was that we wanted to be in a community with other kids. It was for our family that we lived down here.

I would sleep in the call room those nights. He would tell me, "Do what you have to do. If you work all night and you're tired, go to the call room and sleep for a couple of hours and then come home." He was always telling me, "Everything is fine here. You don't need to worry. Lana is fine. I'm fine. You do what you need to do."

There's always that mom guilt. That's a real thing. You always feel guilty about doing that but he was supportive. Also, his parents live in town and we relied on them a lot. We use them a lot to help us. That's another thing is living by family, living by friends and people that you are close to that you trust takes a village.

I don't think I could've survived residency without my husband, my family, my friends, you guys my co-residents. Dr. Dall and I went to residency together. It takes a village to get everybody through because it's tough. You're working all the time. I didn't have kids at the time but I would go days without seeing my husband if our schedules didn't align. It's hard to align schedules when you're on a 36-hour shift.

That's another thing. You would go on a 36-hour call and he was always like, "Everything is fine. You don't need to worry. Do what you have to do." That was residency. To be honest, it's a blur. You're in survival mode. Make it through the day and then repeat that every day for three years and then you've survived hopefully.

The best lesson from this is to find people you know and love who can help you and support you. For a lot of people, having family close by can help, especially if you have kids. As you said, the hours can be unpredictable. It's valuable to have somebody there where it's okay if you're an hour or two late because that happened often.

All the time, you never get out on time.

On-time is the time when you stopped seeing patients.

Even that doesn't count. You're supposed to not see patients your last hour but if somebody comes in five minutes before your shift ends and they need help, you help them. You stay two hours later. That's the nature of what we do.

Residency ended, you were finally able to spend more time with your family and you guys decided to have another baby and then the pandemic hit. Tell me a little bit about what it was like being a pregnant emergency physician in the middle of the pandemic. As I recall, you were at the very end of your pregnancy.

I got pregnant in September or October of 2019, and then in March 2020, Ryan and I were on a little babymoon down in Mexico. I was maybe six months pregnant or something like that. We were in Mexico enjoying a week together. I remember watching on the news and hearing about COVID and the pandemic. It wasn't a pandemic then. It was so early. They were talking about it being in other countries. They started talking about, "There's been like a couple of cases here in the US.

You had no idea at that time what it was going to turn into. You hear news stories all the time. A week later, they're onto the next thing and it fizzles out but this didn't fizzle it grew. I was six months pregnant. We get on a plane and we come back to the states and then within like a week or two, everything shuts down. I was grateful that we had made it home that we weren't in Mexico when that had happened because that's very scary.

We have our daughter at home whom my in-laws are watching. People were getting stuck out of the country for months. We get back and everything shuts down. I remember driving to work for two weeks straight where there was not another car on the road. We would sit at work and there were no patients. There was nobody. The world shut down. Everybody remembers that.

I remember seeing a photo of you. It was close to the end of your pregnancy, probably 8 or 9 months. You had the full PAPR. It's a clean air device that looks like a space helmet.

It's a space helmet. You can't hear anything because all you have is air rushing by your ears. It's like a positive pressure type of ventilation system. It pushes the air out. I remember running codes in a full PAPR, intubating patients in the PAPR, which wasn't even the hardest part. The hardest part is how do you work as a team in resuscitations when you can't talk.

You can't hear each other. We literally would be all in PAPRs. We would be like grabbing each other, like, "Look at this." We’re trying to non-verbally communicate, trying to get people's attention. You're running codes and you guys can't communicate.

It was challenging. You're trying to order epinephrin or anything and if you weren't specifically looking at them when they give it, you don't know how long it's been.

You have to flag them down. I remember intubating with this big belly and the gurney. You want the patient up as close to you as possible. I would bent over intubating. You are having to adjust everything because it's a big thing that's in your way that you have to workaround. All of the PPE was hard when you're pregnant.

You're only one pie, not five. So you have one pie to divide up and create balance, giving enough time for all these different things.

I remember almost throwing up so many times.

It gets hot. You feel like you're re-breathing the same air for ten hours because you are. I wasn't drinking enough water. I was getting dehydrated. Being pregnant, you need to drink water all day. My blood sugar was dropping at times. I wasn't eating. It was its own set of difficult things. The other thing wasn't the physical aspect. It was also more emotional. It was being scared because of thinking the worst. That's all we do. We're hearing all these things about if pregnant women get it, they're dying. They're getting so sick.

I'm thinking to myself like, "This is my job. I'm doing this every day. If I get it," which I thought for sure, I was going to. In my head I'm like, "I'm going to get intubated. I hope they take the baby out if I'm on a vent 3, 4 weeks." Make sure my baby's okay. I want my family to be okay. Literally, I would have thoughts of being intubated for three weeks and having a baby removed from me and then me dying. The worst goes through your mind. Thinking like, "What if I get it and I'm okay? When I have him if there are any problems with him." We didn't know how the virus would affect people's bodies and babies. I was always worried internally about it.

Every day, I go to work and I focus on my work. I do my job. I don't think too much about it but I would have nightmares at night about it. That's when you know that something is affecting you. Maybe you don't take the time to reflect on the fact that it's affecting you but when you're having nightmares about something every night, it's taking a toll on you.

That's something about emergency medicine where we are literally trained to be able to see these terrible things. Then turn around in the next second, keep going without taking the time to process those things internally. It became such a high-risk job in the pandemic and then adding on top of that, a pregnancy.

There's much that goes through your mind and it's emotionally and mentally stressful. It definitely weighs on you and it can definitely compound over time.

That's one of the reasons. I'm impressed with you and your ability to process these things and handle them. I've seen you do that over and over, over the years that I've known you. I want you to know that. We are talking about balance. A lot of the lessons regarding balance applied to almost any job or career path. Do you have any examples of how you're able to maintain balance in your life between work, family and yourself? We do have to pay attention to self-care too.

In terms of balance, people always say, "You can do it all. You have it all." I don't think you ever do it all but you can't do it all. I think of everything as a pie. You're only one pie. You're not five pies. You have one pie to divide up. That's how you create balance. You divide the pie to give enough time for all these different things. Your husband and your marriage and both of your kids, they each need their own time too. You have to take them out. Do things with one and do things with the other. You need time for yourself. You need time for your work.

You have to divide that pie up for all of these different things. The division is always changing. Sometimes you feel like, "I feel that my husband and I haven't been spending enough time together." Then you make a change. "What am I going to take away from to add in more time for that?" Every week or month, you have to reassess how you're feeling, what do you wish you had more time for and then you can adjust accordingly so you shift and do that.

It's a good point that you make about shifting between the pie slices. You can dedicate a bunch of time to one person or one activity at one point but you can't give that much time to everything thatyou're doing, being able to shift between where you're needed. It comes down to life triage.

Thinking about what your priorities are. For me, I don't have a lot of time for like personal relationships and friends per se but some months, I'll be like, "I miss my friends. I haven't seen him." I'll text you and say, "Let's set a date and let's go." Even if we meet up one time every four months, I can do that with you then I can text my other friend and say, "Let's get something on the calendar. Let's meet up." I feel like sometimes that's probably one of the things that I wish I could have more time with that I don't.

I try to prioritize that for some months and try to reach out to people. It's on the calendar, it's going to happen. It needs to make it onto the calendar. I live by the calendar and schedule, which is funny because someone will ask me, "When you do work tomorrow?" I'm like, "I don't know when I work tomorrow."

Before I go to bed, I review what's happening the next day. If it's on the calendar, it's going to happen. That's me trying to prioritize more meeting up with friends and doing things with friends. Life is so busy. Sometimes, I'll feel to myself, "I wish I could get together with my friends more." That's when I'll send out a doodle and like, "Everybody, let's pick a date. We can all get together and spend some time together."

We're also overdue for a trip to Temecula and Mexico.

We'll get it worked out.

Do you have any advice for anyone who's struggling to find or maintain balance in life?

Think about your priorities. Think about the pie. Think of all the things that you have to do and then what part of the pie do you want to be the most. Do it for a month. If you look back in the month and you're like, "I feel like I worked too much and I didn't spend enough time with my husband or significant other." You can shift. "I'm going to pick up fewer shifts next month." Those shifts that I would have been working let's go out and do dates.

Ryan and I worked opposite schedules. In this whole month, we only have three days off together. I have the day on the calendar blocked off. Those are the days that we're going to do lunch dates. We'll get the kids off to school and daycare. We'll come home, get ready and we'll go out. We'll go to San Clemente. We'll eat pizza, drink beer, hit up a winery, come home, pick up the kids and then do the family thing. I have to be very organized and I have to have things on the calendar and on the schedule. I schedule ahead of time. That's the day that Ryan and I are going to go out. If you feel like you're not having enough time with your significant other, pick a day and put it on the calendar. I know it sounds forced.

It sounds awesome. It's prioritizing. If it's written down, it's a lot harder not to do it.

I'll look on the calendar for the next day, "Ryan and I are both off." I'll talk to him, "Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What do you want to eat?" We have the whole day to do whatever we want. Go to the beach or whatever.

The other great thing about shift work and emergency medicine is you can have a random Wednesday that you're not working and make it a fun day.

The tip there would be to schedule it. Schedule a date night and if on the calendar, it has a higher likelihood of happening than if it's not on the calendar.

Any final words of wisdom before we wrap this up?

Think to yourself, what do you think is missing in your life? What do you wish you could do more of then do it. I'm not a huge traveler. I know you are and other people are. Sometimes I'll feel, "We should go on a little family trip." I'll book it, I'll put it on the calendar and it'll be in two months. Whatever you feel like you want to do more of, put it on the calendar and make it happen. Reflect on what you feel you're missing.

That's especially true after a few years now where we haven't been able to do as much to think about those things that matter. Make sure that we're not continuing to put them off for another time. That's another thing we do in medicine where we're like, "Once I get out of medical school, once I get out of residency, once I meet so-and-so goal, then I'll have the free time to do these things." It's important not to put things off and to live their life.

You can do it all. You have to put it on the calendar.

Make your pie.

Figure out your pie slices.

Thank you so much, Dr. Dall.

Thanks for having me.

That's it for this episode. If you like what you read, please give us five-star ratings, subscribe or send this episode to someone you know who might enjoy it. Feel free to connect with us on our website, or Instagram at @TheEmergencyDocs. Until next time.

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About Tanya Dall

Tanya Dall is an Emergency Medicine Physician, a wife to husband Ryan, and a mom to Lana (6) and Liam (16mo). She is always working towards finding the perfect balance between her personal and professional life. She thrives off the occasional adrenaline rush in the Emergency Department as well as working in hospital administration as co-chair of the hospital Sepsis Committee. She keeps climbing the ladder with no ceiling in sight. She always strives to do what is best for her patient’s. Tanya loves watching her family grow. She lives on a street with >60 kids, and enjoys watching the kids laugh and play. She enjoys weekly lunch dates with Ryan and is so blessed to have him as her greatest support. Her other hobbies include wine tasting, cooking and eating. Cheers.


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