By Monica Woodall DO, FACOFP, FAAFP; Chair, ACOFP Health & Wellness Committee
Writing this blog made me realize how dramatically my work life, family life and routine have changed over the last three years—and for the good. I am so grateful for my journey, but writing this blog has helped me become even more grateful.
My husband of 12 years (Lee) and I live in rural Oklahoma in a small neighborhood that is in the country. Lee is a cardiac sonographer and works for the same hospital system that employs me. We bought our forever home in August of last year after living in our shop home (“Shome”) for a year and a half. Shortly after we bought our home, Lee’s oldest daughter, Meagan, and the love of her life, Duncan, and their children built a house across the street from us. We were blessed this year by another grandbaby. Shortly after his birth, my husband’s previous wife built a house next to Meagan and across the street from us. Our tribe is strong, and it has been amazing watching the three grandchildren get to experience life with grandparents so close. My home and neighborhood is truly my happy place.
My morning routine varies depending on the day. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings, I get up early and run three miles before beginning my day. Every morning, I do my Bible study and prayer. On Monday and Thursday mornings, I prefer to arrive earlier to work to prepare, as they are my tougher days.
My week begins on Sunday. I use that day to decompress and organize my agenda for the week. I call it my “Self Care Sunday.” My husband and I do online church with our two cats and dog in our laps after breakfast. After church, we typically get to our chores; I finish laundry and do any cleaning that needs to be done before I compile my to-do list and goals for the week. After chores have been done, we go on a side-by-side ride on our property and neighborhood. We own approximately 30 acres and have two large ponds, cows, mini donkeys and ducks. We love our animals and spend a lot of time with them on the weekends. A few times a month, we use Sunday to also have a family meal with Meagan and her crew. I usually spend Sundays meal prepping for the week as well.
Mondays are busy, of course. My alarm goes off at 5:00 am. My commute to work isn’t long, and I usually listen to a podcast or book on the way. I arrive at the office around 6:00 am to begin prepping my charts for the day. I work in a clinic managed by a group called TexomaCare and have an amazing physician assistant to help. Mondays are the few weekdays that my husband gets home at a decent hour, so we try to go on a side-by-side ride before dinner and showers.
Tuesdays are a little different than other days. Up until this month, I spent the first Tuesday of the month making nursing home rounds. I just recently decided to stop making rounds and caring for nursing home patients to offload stress on me and the clinic. This will allow me to be on call much less. On the second and third Tuesdays of the month, I volunteer at a free clinic after my clinic. I have done this for the last nine years and absolutely love it. It keeps me humble and the patients remind me why I chose medicine.
Wednesdays are one of my half days. After work, I typically run errands, then come home to work out or do some chores. That evening is usually spent at my parents’ house for dinner. They live by the lake about 20 minutes from my home.
Thursdays are my long day. I usually walk into a mess after being off for half a day. Fridays are another half day and also my husband’s day off. After work, we usually take care of a few chores and then make it our date night. Date night might be grilling out on the back porch, a side-by-side ride or a trip to town for dinner and the grocery store. Our date nights have changed dramatically since the pandemic, but honestly, they have brought my husband and me closer together.
Saturdays can be super random. Some days, I am out on the lake with my parents or doing chores. Some Saturdays I am on call for the local casino as their “rock doc.” I have gotten some amazing opportunities to see some incredible live music and take care of sick celebrities. One of our biggest loves is live music. We recently were able to attend Rocklahoma with our best friends this year, which was a much needed getaway.
On weeknights when my husband gets home late, I spend my alone time reading, exercising, crafting and sometimes working on my newest hobby…drumming! I decided at near age 40, I wanted to learn how to play an instrument. When I was younger, I was classically trained ballerina, but in my rural area, it is difficult to find classes. When I am not training for a 5K, I am able to get in a workout in my amazing home gym I have spent years building. I was so blessed to have this when the pandemic started so that I could continue my routine.
Until 2016—after I graduated residency—not only did I work in a clinic, but I also worked in ER and as a hospitalist. In 2016, I made radical changes to improve my life, for which I am so thankful. Turns out you don’t have to “do it all” to be a fulfilled physician.
This year, I stopped being a medical director of a home health practice but continue to be a hospice director, which is very fulfilling. Regardless of the day, I wake up so grateful for my life and blessings.