The YOGI M.D. Podcast

Dr. Josie Dovidio, Host of Josieology Podcast, Makes a Choice

Episode Summary

Dr. Josie Dovidio, a dentist for 22 years and owner of her practice, decided to go on sabbatical to decide if she was living the best life for her longevity. While on sabbatical, she started her own podcast, The Josieology Podcast, a podcast that inspires action, improves lives, and impacts communities. Josie takes pride in having real conversations with real people about tough subjects.

Episode Notes

Dr. Josie Dovidio became the host of Josieology Podcast after deciding to take a sabbatical from her 22 year career in clinical dentistry. Accustomed to caring for thousands of patients over her long career, she realized that her own health was starting to suffer as a result of inadequate self care and undefined boundaries. Her mission now, through her podcast and social media outlets, is to give people permission to pivot out of situations that no longer serve them and be empowered to make tough decisions that will aid in longevity and wellness. She believes that mindset, as well as being in tune with the physical body, is the true recipe for success. 

You can find her podcast here.

In this episode, Josie and I talk about:

The Mindful Minute

An active take on a meditation. It’s good for the monkey mind!

Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit, preferably at your desk or a table. Place a pen and a pad of paper on the table in front of you. To do this exercise you will close your eyes, breathe, and each time you have a thought, open your eyes and write it down. Close your eyes again. Let’s do this for one minute. When you hear my voice, open your eyes. Observe what you wrote without judgment. Try repeating this exercise on a regular basis to notice your thought patterns, to practice self-compassion, and to celebrate taking time for yourself.

Episode Transcription

YOGI MD

Welcome to the YOGI MD Podcast. It's Nadine, yoga teacher, health coach and retired doctor here to bring you and your body together, not in sickness but in health. Thanks for taking this time for yourself. Today, my guest is Dr. Josie Dovidio. She has been a clinical dentist for the last 22 years. She is currently on sabbatical. And the reason why she is on sabbatical will become clearer as we talk a little bit more during the episode today. Thank you, Josie for being here with us today. How are you?

Dr. Dovidio

I'm doing well. Dr. Nadine. How are you today?

YOGI MD

I am doing well. We can drop the doctors now and just be friends. Laughter

Dr. Dovidio

It's great to be here. Thank you for having me on your show.

YOGI MD

Oh, it is my pleasure. And I'm so honored. Not many of us make these decisions for ourselves, take these firm stances, and then decide to be so open about it, to be vulnerable, to be honest, to share our experiences so that we can help other people who may feel lost and alone.

Dr. Dovidio

Yes, and you know, it's a multi layered decision that I made because you have to look at it, obviously, financially. But the bigger part of it is just mentally, what does this mean for you to take a break? What does it mean for the people around you and are wondering why you're taking a break? So there were a lot of things to consider before I made the decision and I did not make the decision lightly. I don't want to use the word forced to decide, but in a way I was, as my health was starting to decline and I'm sure we can get into that as we're chatting today, but I don't think of it personally as courageous inso much as it was necessary in order for me to have longevity in my life.

YOGI MD

Fair enough. I'll push back just a tiny bit, or I should say gently nudge because someone else in your position may have decided to keep grinding it out, despite the health warnings, so you chose yourself.

Dr. Dovidio

Yes, thank you. No, I appreciate that. I appreciate that. Because I know that my own personality would have been that person. In fact, I was that person. I was having physical health clues, mental health clues. And I was ignoring them because I thought, you know, this is what I signed up to do, and this is what I have to do. And then at some point, I was presented with another option or solution. And as I explored it, more and more and prayerfully considered it and cried it out for many, many hours, I realized that that was going to be the best not just for myself long term, but for my family, you know, and those around me who I care about and have to care for on a daily basis.

YOGI MD

So let's take a little bit of a step back and talk about before you got to this point. Why did you become a dentist?

Dr. Dovidio

You know, that is a great question because you know, usually when you ask dental professionals, why they went into dentistry, they have family members who are in the field who are dentists before them, or maybe they were physicians or something else health related. My parents are, you know, off the boat, Sicilian immigrants who came to this country in the late 60s to follow the American dream. In Sicily, schooling is, education is very different than it is here. So my dad went to up to third grade, I believe. And then at that point, they kind of decide whether you're, you know, someone who's going to stay in school or someone who's going to learn learn a trade and my dad became the learn a trade guy. And so he became a carpenter. You know, he didn't love school, he didn't find it very easy. My mom went up to fifth grade. So she liked it a little bit more. But then, you know, at some point again, in that environment at that time, I know it's different now. But, you know, if you weren't loving school, they didn't encourage you to continue or to just stick it out. It was kind of like, Okay, well, you can go and find something else to learn how to do. There's some merit to that because we need all different kinds of trades people in our world, and different kinds of occupations. Not everyone has to have a college degree. I come from very humble beginnings. So it was kind of a miracle that I ended up loving school and continued on and got my dental degree. When I was younger and I would go to the dentist, I loved to going to the dentist and I didn't mind being numb and having all the work done. And unfortunately, because our family's dental IQ was very low when I was young, I had cavities all the time because I was eating, you know, when you grow up Italian you grow up with a lot of bready foods and a lot of simple carbohydrates. But I spent a lot of time in the dental chair and I always enjoyed my experience. I never you know, I don't remember disliking going so I always had a positive connotation you know, that was always a positive thing for me. As I got older and it was time to get a part time job when I was in high school and I you know, worked in several different areas. I decided for some reason to get a job in a dental office. I think on the high school job board it paid more than the other local jobs. From there, I just kind of went from dental job to dental job you know, as other jobs became available that paid a little bit more I got trained to do those things. And, you know, lo and behold, at some point when I was in college, one of my dentist bosses said, Well, all you need to do now is just go to dental school to learn how to do the procedures, because you know how to do everything else in the office. And I thought, Yeah, why not do that? I don't mind. And I always knew I wanted to do something health related. Ironically, when I went home and told my parents, my mom said, Oh, I knew it. I knew you were going to go to dental school. And I said, What do you mean? And she said, Well, when you were little, I was about five or six. My mother had just had my brother. So he was, you know, an infant, we were about five years apart. And she was exhausted from being up with him all night, and it was winter, but I was five or six and I wanted to play and instead of dealing with me and giving me something to do, you know, play in the snow outside or whatever, she wanted to take a nap. So she said, why don't we play doctor and you can be the doctor and I'll be the patient. Well she fell asleep, but she said that she woke up because I was trying to pull out one of her teeth. So, when I came out, you know, fast forward 18 years later, whatever, 10 years later and I said, Hey, I'm I'm gonna go to dental school. She said, I knew it. I always knew it from that moment that you were going to grow up and become a dentist.

YOGI MD

That's great. I love that story. *MUSIC BREAK* 

What was it like  juggling family life and clinical practice?

Dr. Dovidio

So I am a mom of two boys who are teenagers now. It wasn't always easy because my husband is you know, for all intents and purposes, is a traveling salesman. And so a lot of the times I was virtually a single mom, managing a lot of things during the week and I never had a nanny or babysitter or anything like that. You know, people think when you're your own boss that you can just make the schedule what however you want it, which isn't necessarily true because you are your own boss to a certain extent, but your patients employ you. So if your patients want to be seen on a certain day or a certain time, you have to be available for that. 

YOGI MD: Sure. 

Dr. Dovidio: So I at that point in my career altered my schedule significantly. I would work you know, from like, maybe 8:30 to 3:00, so I could come home and not be gone too long. Sometimes I work Saturdays so that my husband could be home with the boys when I would work. So I did whatever it took to be able to grow my career while at the same time being home as much as possible. But it was not easy. I had a lot of female colleagues in my position who didn't do that, you know, or they had nannies full time or they and they worked full time and so it took me longer to grow my practice. But and it was very challenging to try to be you know, have be 100% in every aspect of my life. But at the time I felt like I was doing the right thing for my family. And and I wanted to be there for for my kids. I remember when I was one of the offices I worked at, when I was in early college, at a dental office, the dentist was a lady dentist, and she did have a full time nanny taking care of her daughter. And I remember her telling me a story that she went home one night from work and her daughter, this was before the nanny had left for the day, and her daughter tripped and fell when she was playing and started crying. And so she went over to console her daughter, but the daughter didn't want her. The daughter went straight to the nanny and one of the nanny to console her. 

YOGI MD: Yikes. 

Dr. Dovidio: Yeah. For me, and and this woman thought it was really cute, and but for me, that was like the most heartbreaking story. I was like, Oh my gosh, I'd be devastated if that happened to me. So I always had that in the back of my mind that I wanted to be the number one person in my kids' life. Maybe that was pressure that I put on myself, but it was well warranted, you know, for my belief system and my value system. So not to knock anybody who has a nanny, but that's just something that stood out to me. And you know, other people have different ways of looking at things and that's fine. That works for them. That's great, but I knew for me that was not something that I wanted. So while I did have babysitters for short term, I did not want that long term. So I always manage my schedule to make it work for my family. *MUSIC BREAK*

YOGI MD

Did you feel like you were able to attain balanced family and work life?

Dr. Dovidio

The irony of all of that is I tried my hardest. And, but I always felt like I wasn't being 100% in any arena. You know, I feel like the challenge that working moms have is that you're expected to work as if you don't have kids and then to parent as if you don't have a job or a career.

YOGI MD

Wow, can you stop and say that again? That's so powerful, please.

Dr. Dovidio

Yes, working women , working moms, when they're at work, they're expected to work and be focused and dedicated and completely 100% as if they don't have a family life to think about or consider. And then in the parenting zone or world, we are expected to parent and be perfect, all organic Pinterest worthy recipe moms you know, Pinterest perfect birthday parties and and to pull off mothering as if we don't also have a job and a career and, and outside interests other than parenting. So I think that mentally that's always a challenge for working women whether we are aware of it or not. I don't I don't know as I get older, I don't know that I believe in balance in the way we think of it. I think what we think is balance is to be equally involved in everything in our lifetime at the same time. But I think the reality is balance comes in the form of one day you're more focused on this part of your life and maybe the next day are more focused on another part of your life. What do you think about that?

YOGI MD

I think that's a really interesting question and a way of looking at it. Part of me feels like, and I know this is going to sound very pessimistic, but I don't know if it's possible to have real work life balance, especially nowadays when we're so plugged in all of the time. When I was practicing medicine, there was reading that needed to be done, keeping up with the material. And so that part was difficult when I just wanted to come home and be completely present and unplug and be with my kids and be with my husband and do the other things that I really like to doing that I found fulfilling too. I mean, I'm one of those people who liked coming home to make dinner. I liked the simple pleasure of giving my girls an evening bath in preparation for bedtime. All those things I really treasured. But at the same time, I was felt like I was wrestling with constant guilt in both arenas what, in my personal experience, I don't know if it's possible to really strike work life balance, or what that even means or would look like if I had to give my younger self advice. Because while I was at work, I felt like I had to have a very masculine approach in my work life. This is what I'm here to do. Family is not even something I can really think about, except for the accepted pictures of my girls and my husband on the desk. 

Dr. Dovidio: Right 

YOGI MD: That was okay. But in terms of, they couldn't be distractions. Too bad if I had a sick kid. My situation was a little different than yours. I was lucky to have my, my mom and my dad who are at home to take care of my kids, but they're still my kids. I wanted to be, like you, really present in their lives and I wanted them to know I'm their mom. And then when I get home, I'm feeling guilty because I could be reading more or I missed this thing. Like I couldn't be the mom who would bring the cookies to the classroom. So I just think it's really complex. I don't know if there's an easy answer.

Dr. Dovidio

Yeah. And that's something I think people who are not in the healthcare field don't really realize is that you are an ongoing student. You know, it's not like you go to medical school and you're done learning I just got to do the job. It is an ongoing educational process. So there are always journals to read. There are always papers to read. There are always the latest advances and techniques you need to learn so there's always you know, whether you own a practice like I did and ran the whole business, or whether you work for a hospital or a clinic or you know where you're you're someone else is in charge of running it but you are providing the care there. That is, both kinds of scenarios require after hours studying that is not paid for. So it is a hard thing to juggle. I did luckily have my in-laws nearby. So if I got stuck, they were available to come help. But you know, it's I always felt like it was not their job to raise my kids. And I feel like looking back, I did the best that I could do. I don't regret how I did it but like, you know, we've mentioned internally you have that struggle of feel always feeling like you're not doing enough. *MUSIC BREAK*

YOGI MD

So it sounds like you would do it again.

Dr. Dovidio

I think I would do it again. But having you know, knowing what I know now, there are things that I would tell myself, you know, like if I had a coach or a mentor, you know, the irony is there are many, many coaches nowadays lifestyle coaches, and back then that wasn't as prevalent. But if I had to tell myself something, it would be that You know, you are doing enough, it is enough. You don't have to be perfect at everything. You know, you don't have to be everyone's dentist. I was always very accommodating for my patients, you know, because as a caregiver, that's what you want to do you want to take care of people. But at some point I needed to have more or better boundaries, better boundaries mentally, you know, like, I don't need to feel guilty about that it is what it is, and better boundaries in terms of like, I remember thinking, if I was a male dentist, I highly doubt this person would be insisting that I come in on a Saturday to see them. I don't know if that's accurate or not. But I remember feeling that way at the time. *MUSIC BREAK*

YOGI MD

Would you like to share what led up to your decision to take the sabbatical?

Dr. Dovidio

So I happen to have celiac disease which, long story short is an autoimmune condition where your body turns on itself. And it's related to this gluten protein which is found in wheat, barley and rye, which, as an Italian person is pretty much in everything I eat all the time. So I did not know I had this situation until maybe it's been almost seven or eight years now. Autoimmune issues, whether it's celiac or other things are not helped by stress. And you know, being a healthcare provider, even though it's very rewarding, it is also very stressful. So the chronic stress kind of compounded upon itself over the years. I was having a really hard time with my digestive system. I was having a really hard time sleeping properly. And of course when you're sleeping, that's your body's time to heal and rejuvenate and, and become stronger. And so I started you know about about year 19 and 20 of my career, I started making changes to my practice. You know, at this point my practice was very busy and I was working four days a week, I was working full days, on the days that I was there really see a high volume of patients so that I didn't have to work more days, so that I could give my body a break. All of that stuff, physical stuff I mentioned earlier, I neglected to mention the musculoskeletal issues, right, when you're bending over people all day that wreaks havoc on your neck and your shoulders and..

YOGI MD

and your back.

Dr. Dovidio

I brought in an associate to try to see some of the patient flow. But I was already working from a deficit. So none of those changes were really going to, you know, have a significant impact for me. So at some point, my associate had asked me if I would consider having a partner. So I said, You know what, I don't want a partner but if you want to buy the whole thing, then I will step out and take a little break and sabbatical. And then when I'm feeling well enough, I can come back and work as an employee so I don't have to be in charge of it anymore. *MUSIC BREAK*

YOGI MD

What I'm observing is incredibly self aware, intelligent, driven, and caring woman. Am I presumptuous and saying that you are applying those strengths, which you've outlined so well for us in our discussion thus far, which have served you very well in your career to podcasting now?

Dr. Dovidio

Well, yeah, so that's the thing that I'm learning about myself. So you know, I took this sabbatical, and it was supposed to be this time of rest and reflection, and I jumped right into podcasting. And so I have this podcast now when and it's allowed me to explore my creative side. It's allowed me to meet great people such as yourself, and I have friends all over the world now and have great conversations. You know, and what I learned is that after 22 years of running at that pace of being constantly go, go, go and and constantly having to have something to do, just because I removed the practice for my life, I have not removed that way of operating from my brain. And so now it's a struggle for me to set boundaries on how much time do I spend with this podcasting gig? You know, I'm also I've been writing a book for a long time. I want to finish that book, but I have so many things I'm interested in and so many things I want to do, that my brain just keeps me moving and going. Now, that ultimately is gonna work against me as well. So now I have to in the interest of self preservation and the quest for longevity, I need to learn how to better balance what I want to do with what I need to do. What I want to do is podcast and talk to people and write and do all these creative things. What I need to do is focus more on stillness, quiet, rest, because they're just as crucial and just as vital to living as hustling.

YOGI MD

You mentioned the word boundaries earlier. So I wonder if there's an opportunity to set those boundaries for yourself. And what I mean by that is, know what kind of person you are. Embrace those strengths. For example, if you're a morning person, then would it makes sense to be really focused and on and get a lot of the work done the busyness when you feel the most energetic, and then to give yourself a break later on in the day. Maybe find a gentler way, or maybe an active, gentle way to relax to settle yourself. Give yourself permission to discover those ways, those things that bring you maybe some activity but also calm you down that quiets all of the rest of that in the background. And what I love about doing my podcast is celebrating your individuality. We are not all the same. What's going to work for me will not work for you. It's not going to work for one of my daughters. I mean, they're completely different creatures from each other. What calms them down or what energizes them is completely different from me. But we've all got to take that personal journey and discover that for ourselves.

Dr. Dovidio

Yes, absolutely. Yes. And what you're saying completely resonates with me. And that is the journey that I'm on now. I am a stillness seeker. I in my brain cognitively know, that's what I need. That's what I want. That's what sounds delicious. That's what will be healing to me. But the monkey brain just keeps it going and I have a lot of ideas. You know what I wish, I wish I had like a team of people that I could just assign my ideas to and have them execute the ideas because I thought that I would be bored. You know, like when people say, Well, what when I was telling my friends, this is what I was going to do. Well, what are you going to do with your time? You're going to be bored, what are you going to do? And I'm like, no I'm sure I'll find something to do you know, but honestly considering like, Oh, I might be bored. I you know, I'm busy thinking all day. Well, I have not found that to be true. You know, a lot of the struggles that we have are in our own mind, and how we think of things and how we process things and how we go through life. The striving is all good and well but if you're still not settled, it's not because of the actual thing you're striving for, it's because of how you think about it in your head. And now I'm meditating on that same advice for myself. *MUSIC BREAK*

YOGI MD

So can you please tell us a little bit more about your podcast? It's the Josieology Podcast. I love the name!

Dr. Dovidio

Yes. Josieology. Yes, obviously, it's named after me. It just kind of came about Josieology. Ology, obviously is a play on the study of something, you know, and I like to study things. So we combine those two Josieology is the name of the show, When you're in a podcast space, people want you to have a niche. Like you have the perfect one. You're Yogi MD and you talk about health things and Yogi things and mindset things and and that's what is good. For my show I tell people I'm like a small town, Oprah. I'm just talking about. I just want to talk about whatever I find interesting, right? So, right now, what I can tell from my audience and what resonates with them, because as a podcaster, you do get some statistics. So my audience right now seems to be predominantly women, ages like 30, 35 to 55 ish. The topics are of interest to people who have lived long enough to have some questions, or to be curious about some things. I just launched season two. We had an episode about decluttering and what that says about your life, you know, both mentally and physically and and that was really interesting. I have an episode coming up about menopause, an episode coming up about highly sensitive people. I interview an army colonel about leadership roles, and how  to be authentic, you know how to not lose yourself as a leader because like you said, when you were going to work, you were trying to fit into this masculine role to do your job. And a lot of women do that. As an army colonel, she had to do that as well, right, to a certain extent until she kind of had this realization that no, she's a gentle soul, and she can still be a powerful leader from that point. And so that was a great conversation. You know, I had you on to talk about your journey, and that was a great conversation. *MUSIC BREAK*

So over my many years of service in the dental field, the 20% of people that create trouble are really high maintenance or really kind of unreasonable. They were starting to jade me towards the rest of my patient population who were lovely people. Podcasting has really allowed me to have deeper, meaningful conversations with people about things that matter, about things that people don't really talk about, giving people permission to think about these things, you know, like you and I were talking about is maybe balance is a myth. I mean, people are pushing balance, and they want it to look a certain way. But maybe it really looks like this, or maybe it's not even attainable. We don't know, but at least we're having the conversation. You know, and podcasting is a great venue for that. That just because this isn't what's being pushed out on Instagram or on TV, doesn't mean that this isn't a thing and that people aren't feeling it and needing to talk about it.

YOGI MD

So well put, everything I love about podcasting. Thank you so very much for sharing everything I've learned from you today and that my listeners have learned for you today. Before I ask you my last question, where can we find you?

Dr. Dovidio

So I hang out on Instagram at Josieology Podcast. I am on Facebook at Josieology Podcast. And of course, I have the website for the podcast, which is just josieology.com. And of course, I'm on all the podcast platforms with my podcast, Josieology.

YOGI MD

Perfect. So what is your personal definition of what it means to be healthy?

Dr. Dovidio

What it means to be healthy for me is to wake up, looking forward to the day, to have energy to accomplish whatever you set out for yourself for that day. To eat foods that bless your body, to enjoy fellowship and conversation, to have a sense of purpose and that you're contributing to not just your you know, personal well being but to your family's well being to your friends and to your community. Health is also knowing and accepting that who you are and what you want in life is okay and that you don't have to get permission from anybody else to have it or want it.

YOGI MD

Thank you for being here.

Dr. Dovidio

Thank you so much for having me on your show and, and I have loved getting to know you and I do consider you my Yogi MD friend out in the Midwest and I just look forward to an ongoing conversation.

YOGI MD

Me too. *MUSIC BREAK*

And now it's time for The Mindful Minute. Here is a non-traditional and active take on a meditation. It's good for the monkey mind. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit, preferably at your desk or a table. Place a pen and a pad of paper on the table In front of you. To do this exercise, you will close your eyes, breathe, and each time you have a thought, open your eyes and write it down, then go back to closing your eyes again. Let's do this for one minute. Don't worry, I'll keep time. When you hear my voice the time is over. SILENCE FOR ONE MINUTE

And now observe what you wrote, without judgment. Try repeating this exercise on a regular basis to notice your thought patterns to practice self compassion, and to celebrate taking this time for yourself. As usual, thanks for being here. And if you like what you hear, tell a friend to subscribe to the podcast and have a listen at www.yogimd.net. See you next time. *OUTRO*

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai