113: Creativity: The Rx For Burnout

PoP podcast episode 113_quote

We cheer for our healthcare heros. But do we actually understand what they’re going through?

Today’s guest, Dr. Hisla Bates, does. An Ivy-league trained, board certified psychiatrist, who also happened to have a career as a fashion designer, Dr. Bates coaches women physicians who are experiencing burnout.

Even if you’re not a healthcare professional, you probably understand the toll it can take when you wear busyness as a badge of honor. Dr. Bates brings a firsthand account of the fast-paced lifestyle we’re convinced we need and why normalizing stress is dangerous.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Why female physicians are at the highest risk for burnout,
  • The health scare Dr. Bates faced in her 30s and how that changed her life perspective,
  • How to create conditions for creativity,
  • Making the distinction between your personal interests and your professional calling, and
  • Why “just one more thing” leads to burnout.


This episode is dedicated to those of us who think we can (and should) do it all—as parents, partners, managers, and visionaries.


Dr. Bates is an Ivy League trained, board certified psychiatrist and an accomplished artist in private practice in New York City. She also coaches women physicians who are experiencing burnout.


The suicide rate for women physicians is 4x that of average population...and that was pre-Covid.

Understand how you relax—it may be very different than how others unwind.

Creativity is central to any profession.

Healing from burnout requires space and freedom to create without expectations.

Money cannot be the main motivator for your work. It won’t lead you anywhere meaningful.


“Without creativity I don’t think you can be happy.”

“For a long time I was afraid to talk about art or creativity. It never seemed like it was really valued amongst my peers. It was something I held close to my heart...but I actually think it made me a better physician in a lot of ways.”

“I’m just doing more of what I want to do. And I do a lot of it.”

“What happens to someone—physicians especially-—who wants to think creatively is that you can’t because you feel this pressure to do things the way you’re forced to.”

“One needs freedom in order to be creative. You need time and you need space.”