mental health Paisley Hansen

Tips for Busy Doctors to Improve Their Mental Health

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Anyone who works in a challenging position with a busy schedule needs to be attentive to maintaining a good work-life balance. This is particularly important for doctors. Their job roles are so demanding that the way they measure work-life balance is likely to vary from the way that most professionals do. Although being a doctor is tremendously gratifying and offers people considerable satisfaction in their career, it can also be an all-consuming career path for people. Whether you are new to the field or you’ve been practicing medicine for an extended period of time, you need to be conscientious about how your work may be impacting your mental health while also taking decisive measures to promote your well-being. Here are a few simple things that you can do to feel better every workday and reduce stress.

Prep Your Workday

Planning ahead for a long day can make you feel a lot more comfortable. Put some thought into what you can do to enhance the comfort of each workday, infuse it with some simple pleasures, and spare yourself from decision-making fatigue when you’re really busy. 

Take care of what you’ll wear and bring to work with you the night before your shift. Choose extremely comfortable footwear and consider orthopedic insoles. Always pick pants that fit loosely around your midsection but also stay put. Comfortable high waist jogger scrubs are a good choice for a loose but shaped cut. Get your favorite drink ready and keep it in a stainless steel container so it will stay the right temperature all day. Do meal prep and include healthy snacks so you can stay fueled up with nutritious energy sources instead of settling for processed food from a vending machine. 

Get Essential Rest

Doctors tend to have long workdays, and they have to bring a formidable amount of mental energy into each day. To stay focused throughout a workday that’s packed with appointments, it’s crucial that you get an adequate amount of rest each night. Trying to get through a day with less than the recommended amount of sleep can make it nearly impossible to power through a full shift. You’ll also be much more vulnerable to stress and hormonal imbalances that can trigger anxiety.

Make it a point to get in a routine of going to bed around the same time every night. You can program your body’s sleeping and waking hours with a high degree of precision if you’re consistent about when you turn in and get up. Set your bedtime relative to the time that you need to get up, even if it means turning in at a time that seems super early to you. 

Take Your Time Off

A lot of doctors don’t use all of their available vacation time. Leaving vacation time on the table may seem like a commendable thing to do when you’re concerned that time away would represent a problem for your patients or your colleagues. However, being able to use your time off is essential to self-care. Apart from the hardship of missing out on the opportunity to relax or do something fun, the ever-present feeling of being trapped. Try to plan your vacation schedule as far as advance as possible. Coordinate with your colleagues and don’t be reticent to reach out for the support you need to unplug while you’re away.     

 

The inherent stress of being responsible for other people’s health and the stressors that are a fixture in doctors’ working conditions can cause them to experience mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety. Being conscientious about your mental health can proactively prevent problems with performance that can affect the quality of care that you give to your patients. It also helps you continue to find your work gratifying. Striking a healthy work-life balance protects the quality of the work that you do and makes you better able to thrive in an extremely challenging job role.  

Paisley Hansen
Author: Paisley Hansen

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