7 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself as a Physician – Credihealth Blog

All physicians have that innate desire to help others. In most cases this makes them prioritize their patients’ needs over their own therefore putting themselves at risk of burnout or even injury. Here are seven self-care tips for physicians.

Research has shown that less than 5% of grownups exercise for 30 minutes each day. Regular exercise needs to be a part of every person’s life. There are a ton of benefits that come with exercising daily, especially for a physician.

Daily exercise helps improve brain function and thinking skills and protects your memory. Exercise increases heartbeat and this promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This in turn stimulates the production of the hormones that enhance the growth of brain cells. 

Daily exercise will also elevate your energy levels as well as prevent a myriad of chronic illnesses.

  • Maintain a Healthy Diet 

As a physician, you will normally have huge workloads that may make it difficult to get time to eat nutritious foods. Vending machines provide food to 70% of physicians. Though food from vending machines may be tasty, it is far from nutritious. 

Despite your busy schedule, as a physician, you need to plan to go grocery shopping at least once a week. Buy fresh vegetables and fruits to make healthy meals that will last you through the entire week. To avoid eating junk food from vending machines, you can always pack some healthy snacks like nuts, cheese, and apples. While at work you can always munch on these snacks, and they will help maintain your energy levels during those long shifts.

If you are a physician with an unpredictable schedule, you could try batch cooking once a month. You will then freeze the batch-cooked meals and they will be a lifesaver on those days you get home super exhausted.

  • Establishing work-home boundaries

Establishing boundaries between work and home can be extremely difficult, especially for physicians. This however necessary and crucial for your mental state. Home should be a place of rejuvenation. This helps the body and mind rest and regain the energy that was used up during the day. Physicians should try as much as possible not to work at home. Some strategies they could use are keeping off the phone for a few hours, informing the office not to make contact unless it’s an emergency avoiding checking work emails at home.

  • Develop good sleeping habits

Sleep is vital for a physician. Getting enough sleep is as important as getting quality sleep. Quality sleep can help you be clear-minded the next day. As you treat 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 greatly tied to stress, exercise, and a healthy diet. You can get into deeper sleep states easily if you replace processed sugars in your diet with foods that give you long-lasting energy like fruits and vegetables. You can also improve your sleep by reducing caffeine and quitting smoking.

To ensure you easily sleep every night, minimize interactions with electronic devices like cellphones at least 30 minutes before your bedtime. Reading a book will ensure you fall asleep quickly.

As a physician, it is nearly impossible to avoid stress. Luckily, 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 will provide you with a sense of calm and peace. Meditation can help you relax and cope with stress as you get to focus your attention on something calming.
  •  Prayer: Prayer prompts a relaxation response in the body which lowers blood pressure. It also exercises people’s empathy and compassion, and this reduces stress levels. 

These relaxation techniques are all equally important. Try all three of them and see which suits you well. Every morning or evening, you can spend 20-30 minutes doing any of the relaxation techniques above.

  • Fostering recreational activities and hobbies

Recreational activities and hobbies afford physicians opportunities 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 it was shown that 75% of participants who made art had reduced cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

  • Build close relationships with family

Family time should offer physicians an escape from their demanding jobs. Building strong relationships with one’s own family builds improves emotional availability and reduces stress. The skills physicians acquire while bonding with their families will boost their performance at work.

Living a healthy lifestyle as a physician can make your professional life more fulfilling. Making healthy choices isn’t the easiest thing but the rewards are great. Some habits every physician needs to build include exercising, eating healthy diets, proper work-life balance, reducing stress, and developing good sleep habits. Physicians should also strive to spend more quality time with their families. They can pick up different hobbies like hiking or camping which they can do with their family members.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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