As the new chief of gynecology and gynecologic surgery at Northwestern Medicine, Chaudhari is all about her patients — but she doesn’t stop there. She’s the founder and director of Northwestern’s P2P Network, a peer support group that helps doctors process their job stress. “The rate of physician burnout compared to that of other professions is crazy,” she says. “Our goal is to get to doctors when they’re going through their worst times and lead them down the path of better coping.” For the 45-year-old Lincoln Park resident and mother of three, it all comes down to self-care — a practice that requires not just discipline but creativity too.

Pushup Hack

“When my kids were younger, I used to have to force them to brush their teeth. So I’d set a timer and say: ‘You brush for two minutes, and I’ll do pushups for two minutes.’ I’d do 40 to 45. Like any working mom, I really try to find time to exercise when I can.”

Meditative Movement

“I get up between 5:15 and 5:45 every morning. Prior to work and surgery, I like to run outside — in the neighborhood, in the park, or by the lake. I might run two and a half miles or I might run seven, depending on how much time I have. When I exercise, I have so much more focus and patience. I’ve always said that I’m not a meditator — I can’t sit still long enough. But I actually think running is my version of meditating. It took me many years to recognize that running and surgery were very similar in terms of how they help me focus.”

Joint Saver

“I was having a lot of problems with my ankles [from running every morning], and a girlfriend said, ‘Draw the alphabet with your feet to stretch out.’ I do that intermittently while seated throughout the day now. It makes a difference!”

Baby Got Back

“Squatting was my favorite activity right after I had my twins. I would hold one in each arm, and instead of rocking back and forth, I would squat. I like to joke that I’m the baby whisperer: I can make any baby in a restaurant stop crying by squatting. Kids love it, and it’s a great workout for your butt!”

Sound Sleep

“I’m an easy sleeper. I think this comes from medical training; you learn to sleep almost anywhere, and you try to get as much of it as you can. Sleep hygiene is so important for this: a dark room, no TVs. I always recommend waking up to a normal alarm clock rather than the screen of your phone. Sound is better than light.”

Chaudhari’s Daily Fuel

Breakfast: Coffee and Greek yogurt
Lunch: Fresh veggies, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and peppers, with a little bit of hummus, or a big green salad
Dinner: Homemade turkey tacos or salmon
Water: Three liters
Evening indulgence: A piece of dark chocolate