Dr Narena Dudley

14 March 2021

The below is written by FRANZCOG Dr Narena Dudley, as part of RANZCOG’s Wellbeing Wednesday initiative, where RANZCOG highlights, across its wellbeing social media accounts including Twitter (@ranzcogwellness) and Instagram (@ranzcog_wellbeing), a different trainee or member each week and what they do to support their health and wellbeing.

"I have always loved my career - the privilege of being involved in the most intimate time of a person's life - welcoming a child into the world, is indeed an honour and so gratifying. There was a time in my career where the workplace however was exhausting - we were understaffed, under resourced, morale was poor, burnt out and stress leave was high. In my management role, I needed to find the cover, often doing it myself - however no matter how much extra I did, nothing changed, the workload was ever pressing, my family were neglected - and the person who came home had little left to give.

It was not until I made a decision with the support of my husband to return to competitive bodybuilding, and had to make time for myself to do what I needed to achieve my goal outside of work - that I found the balance and became clear about what time I had to do work-related activities, and what time I needed for myself and my family. The phrase “you can not pour from an empty cup” is obvious but not always easy to recognise when your cup is drained slowly over time.. In 2015 at age 42 I came 2nd in the Waikato Open Womens Physique Class and in 2018 at age 45 I won the Waikato Open Womens Physique title. Although these were wonderful “highs” the often tense times of dieting and training there were also some low points, so through this we made a plan to renew our wedding vows and commitment to each other and our family, which we did in Noumea in Jan 2019.

In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength”. By taking time to achieve goals outside of work, I believe I have become a better doctor, leader, wife and mother - and I truly believe and advise the medical students and juniors that it essential to have a passion outside of your career to keep your cup full and help you keep a healthy work-life balance. Kia kaha!"



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