All doctors have that innate desire to help others. In most cases, this causes them to prioritize their patients’ needs over their own, putting them at risk of burnout or even injury† Here are seven self-care tips for doctors.
Research has shown that less than 5% of adults exercise for 30 minutes a day. Regular exercise should be part of every person’s life. There are a lot of benefits that come with exercising every day, especially for a doctor.
Daily exercise helps improve brain function and thinking skills and protects your memory. Exercise increases the heart rate and this promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This, in turn, stimulates the production of the hormones that promote the growth of brain cells.
Daily exercise will also increase your energy levels and prevent many chronic diseases.
As a doctor, you will normally have a huge workload that can make it difficult to get time to eat nutritious foods. Vending machines supply 70% of doctors with food. Food from vending machines may be tasty, but it is far from nutritious.
Despite your busy schedule, as a doctor, you should plan to run errands at least once a week. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables to make healthy meals that you can enjoy throughout the week. To avoid eating junk food from vending machines, you can always pack some healthy snacks, such as nuts, cheese, and apples. You can always enjoy these snacks while you’re at work, and they’ll help keep your energy levels up during those long shifts.
If you are a doctor with an unpredictable schedule, you can try batch cooking once a month. You then freeze the batch cooked meals and they will be a lifesaver on those days when you come home super exhausted.
Establishing work-home boundaries
Establishing boundaries between work and home can be extremely difficult, especially for doctors. However, this is necessary and crucial for your mental state. Home should be a place of rejuvenation. This helps the body and mind to relax and regain the energy that has been used up during the day. Doctors should try to avoid working from home as much as possible. Some strategies they could use include not using the phone for a few hours and informing the office not to contact them unless it’s an emergency so they don’t have to check work emails at home.
Develop good sleeping habits
Sleep is essential for a doctor. Getting enough sleep is just as important as a good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep can help you clear your mind the next day. When treating your patients, you need to be alert and able to make effective decisions. You can improve these aspects by improving your sleeping habits.
Sleep is strongly linked to stress, exercise and a healthy diet. You can easily enter a deeper state of sleep if you replace processed sugars in your diet with foods that give you sustained energy, such as fruits and vegetables. You can also improve your sleep by reducing caffeine and quitting smoking.
To ensure that you can sleep comfortably each night, minimize interaction with electronic devices such as cell phones for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. You fall asleep quickly by reading a book.
As a doctor, it is almost impossible to avoid stress. Fortunately, you can use different techniques to reduce stress† Here are a few techniques you can use to manage stress.
- Relaxation techniques: This can take the form of listening to music or deep breathing exercises.
- Meditation: This gives you a sense of calm and peace. Meditation can help you relax and manage stress if you can focus your attention on something calming.
- Prayer: Prayer triggers a relaxation response in the body that lowers blood pressure. It also exercises people’s empathy and compassion, and this reduces the stress level.
These relaxation techniques are all equally important. Try all three and see which one suits you best. Every morning or evening you can spend 20-30 minutes on one of the above relaxation techniques.
Promote recreational activities and hobbies
Recreational activities and hobbies provide opportunities for physicians to learn new skills. At the same time, these activities can help them relieve stress, break the monotony and enrich their lives. In one study, 75% of participants who made art were shown to have reduced cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Build close relationships with family
Family time should offer doctors an escape from their demanding job. Building strong relationships with one’s own family improves emotional availability and reduces stress. The skills doctors acquire as they bond with their families will improve their performance at work.
A healthy lifestyle as a doctor can make your professional life more fulfilling. Making healthy choices isn’t the easiest thing, but the rewards are huge. Some habits every doctor should develop include exercising, eating healthy foods, maintaining a good work-life balance, reducing stress, and developing good sleep habits. Doctors should also strive to spend more quality time with their families. They can pick up various hobbies such as hiking or camping that they can do with their family members.
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