Before you became a physician – and as a physician – you’re a person with many interests, goals and ideas. It would be narrow-minded to think every health care worker’s sole passion is practicing medicine. While that may be a large one, it’s likely you have other dreams you’ve thought about pursuing.
The good news is that it’s not just possible, but ideal, for your personal and professional life to engage with hobbies or interests that aren’t exclusive to your time spent practicing.
Nurturing these types of hobbies offer some distance from work life and can be beneficial for a few reasons. Here’s how a hobby helps with wellness:
Better work/life balance
An active hobby or interest separate from your job can help make work life feel less all-consuming. It can offer variety in your day-to-day, making time spent outside your facility more fulfilling and your return to work more appealing.
Ward off burnout
One of the greatest contributors to physician burnout is a lack of work/life balance. However, this balance isn’t just about how much time you spend at work vs. away, but more so how that time is spent. Being a health care worker can be stressful, so turning your attention to activities that decrease stress and promote your personal fulfillment is key.
It’s likely you’ll also experience greater peace of mind and more productivity during your workday because you won’t constantly be wondering what it would be like exploring other interests. Put your lifestyle first. Instead of being distracted by the possibility of pursuing other passions, experiment with bringing them to life next to your long-standing one of providing health care.
But, more specifically, what can this look like in practice?
Getting creative within the industry
Many residents, fellows, physicians and advanced practice providers have gotten creative and found ways to combine their love of medicine with another passion.
Take Leo Lopez III, M.D., for example; Dr. Lopez is not only a practicing physician, but he also found an interest in filmmaking. He then pivoted that passion to develop El Renovatio Films, LLC, where he directs and produces documentaries on health care and human rights alongside his work as a doctor.
Then, there’s physicians like James Dahle, M.D. If you’re anything like Dr. Dahle, you’ve always had a handful of interests when it comes to choosing a career. As a kid, he had three: “…being a physician, being a writer, or operating machinery like huge dump trucks or excavators.”
Aside from being a physician, Dr. Dahle is known for starting The White Coat Investor, which is now the most widely read physician-specific personal finance and investing website in the world. “I’ve managed to do two of the three, and that’s not too bad,” he reflects.
Take some time to consider your passions. Is it possible to combine any with your current role in health care? Is there an opportunity for one to inspire the other?
Finding hobbies removed from health care
While developing a side gig that’s supported by your main profession can be valuable, your pursuit of other passions doesn’t always have to align with your medical career.
Candace Bellamy, M.D., is one physician who has made time for a side passion in her busy schedule. By day, Dr. Bellamy uses her medical expertise to serve her community; by night, she takes the stage and shares her love for performing jazz music.
Your options are endless; all it takes is a little curiosity to see which opportunities can be a positive supplement for you.
In case you’re feeling stuck, here are a few hobbies many health care workers enjoy during their time away from work:
- Learning an instrument
- Hiking and biking
- Taking up an art practice – painting, sculpting, collaging, graphic design
- Trying a new workout or sport – kickboxing, yoga, racquetball
- Cooking or baking – classes or online tutorials
We’re here to help! To get more tips for establishing work/life balance, pursuing your hobbies and other career advancement advice, contact the Physician Relations Team at PhysRelations@PracticeLink.com.