4 Ways to Take Care of Yourself as a Doctor

As a physician, you’re used to taking care of people every day. You’re diagnosing everyone left and right, telling people to take their medicine or making sure they come back for a follow-up appointment. You love helping people, it’s why you became a doctor in the first place. Or you were a House fan growing up, and being that smart and cool just seemed appealing.

While you’re constantly running around making sure others are healthy, wealthy and wise, it can be easy to overlook yourself. You’re a selfless person, so it seems obvious that you’d overlook yourself from time to time, but if you want to be the best doctor you can be, make sure you follow these tips.

Time off means time off

For many, it can be difficult to find that perfect balance between work and life. The line of “live to work” and “work to live” gets blurred so much you’re not even sure where it starts and where it begins anymore. No matter what line of medical work you’re in, chances are you’re put in occasionally stressful situations. Almost 50% of physicians reported feeling some kind of burnout in a recent survey and avoiding burnout can be a tough task ahead.

Taking care of your mental and physical health is a top priority Not only will it help you, but it will make you a better doctor down the road.

So, when it comes to time off, that means take the time off! Whether you’re on a 4-day on, 3-day off rotation or you work a regular 9-5 position, maximize your time off.

Keep at your hobby, play video games or spend some extra time with your kids. Whatever it is you need to do, take that time for you.

Keep up the Healthy Habits

While you were in medical school or residency, you may have picked up some unhealthy habits. A take-out pizza was easier than cooking or “I’ll go the gym tomorrow”. There’s no shame in cutting yourself some slack from time to time, but it’s vital to keep up your healthy habits.

You’re on your feet, moving around for long parts of the day and sometimes you may just forget to eat or drink water. If you can, try carrying around a water bottle with you or keep one where you know you’ll be going by each day. Pack some healthy snacks like nuts or fruit the night before instead of choosing chips at the vending machine.

If you’re eating in the cafeteria, lean towards the healthier options. Consider setting up a system. Maybe on Fridays, you can indulge your sweet tooth or grab a hamburger from the place down the road.

Your workout routine may be thrown off too, but do your best to keep something consistent during the week. Whether that’s heading to a boxing class or taking a walk with your wife every day, find something to keep you active and fit.

Find a foxhole buddy

Even though you may be running around and feel like you are never able to talk to anyone else at work, your colleagues can be some of your most important assets. Even though you may have great friends and a loving family, they may not always be able to understand exactly what you’re going through.

They can listen intently, but sometimes it’s like telling a funny joke: you just had to be there. Look for someone else who you two can share your grievances with. Share the funny stories, the stressful stories and everything in between. Be a listening ear just as they are for you. Sometimes you’re not looking for a solution to your problem, but it just feels good to say something out loud.

Make Sure You’ve Got Yourself Covered

No one is ever planning on getting into an accident, but accidents do happen. You protect the most valuable things in your life: your car, your home and your health. If you haven’t, it’s time to make sure you’re prepared for the worst.

You may never be expecting it, but a disability can happen at any time and keep you out of work. If you can’t work, the hospital bills may mount up and you’ll be stuck up a river without a paddle. Workplace injuries are an unfortunate reality, but you’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything just in case.

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