physician meditating over their desk, practicing wellness as a physician
physician meditating over their desk, practicing wellness as a physician

Practicing wellness as a physician

Read PracticeLink articles from Stephen Leggitt
Stephen Leggitt

Table of Contents

With the average day in the life of a physician being one that is overflowing with stress and pressure, it’s easy to see how so many doctors begin their careers with the most positive of mindsets, only to quickly end up experiencing a severe case of burnout. Whether it’s visiting a rapid succession of patients, maintaining healthy relations with staff, keeping an eye on administrative duties while also pursuing your own professional development, it can feel like there’s little time for you to integrate wellness practices into your daily routine. However, as the old saying goes, “You can’t pour from any empty cup.” Knowing that without taking proper care of yourself, it’s even harder to take care of others, here are some daily steps you can take to refresh both your personal and professional outlook and work toward practicing wellness as a physician.

Take overall stock

The first step to practicing wellness as a physician is taking an overall stock of how your profession affects your personal well-being. Does the stress of your day-to-day professional life bleed into other aspects of your existence? Do you find yourself to be a living example of a certain type of physician paradox, where you find yourself caring more for your patients than caring for your own state of mind? Remember, the more you care for yourself, the more you can effectively care for your patients. Knowing specifically where you can make positive changes in your routine is the first step of a long journey that will hopefully culminate with you embracing a positive evolution in both your personal and professional life.

Start the day by nurturing your mind

One important thing to note is that consistently practicing mindfulness is not something that can happen overnight. Likewise, it is not something that can be incorporated sporadically and still lead to a complete transformation of your state of mind. Instead, committing to personal growth is a lifelong pursuit and one that needs to be fully integrated into your daily routine. If you usually wake up and immediately begin stressing over that day’s schedule or dreading certain portions of the forthcoming day, instead, find time to appreciate the simple moments that naturally occur on a standard morning. Whether it’s enjoying your first cup of coffee, a moment of meditation before leaving your bedroom or a simple stretching routine, finding some tiny moments of relaxation and manufacturing some ways to show gratitude before you start a frantic, busy day has innumerable internal and external benefits.

Let’s get physical

The connection between being physically active and one’s daily outlook has been scientifically proven again and again. What are some ways you can incorporate physical fitness activities into your daily routine? This could be as simple as stopping by the gym before or after work (some healthcare facilities even provide discounts on gym memberships) or using your lunch break to go for a quick walk around the nearest park. Daily and dedicated exercise not only sets a great example for your patients, but it also has undeniable benefits, such as helping manage stress and providing a feeling of accomplishment.

Cultivating healthy eating habits

With a chaotic daily schedule, it’s easy to see how a doctor can fall into the pattern of eating fast food. The fast-paced nature of the industry can also open the door to irregular eating patterns since it can be hard to schedule a well-balanced meal between an ever-growing queue of patients. However, much like exercising, a balanced and healthy diet is crucial for your overall well-being and physical health. Whether it’s a weekly meal-prep, making sure to drink a certain amount of water each day or scheduling specific increments of time to eat a complete meal, cultivating a daily healthy eating schedule will eventually morph into a healthy eating lifestyle.

The importance of hobbies

Whether it’s with a group of friends or a solo activity, finding a fulfilling hobby can help any doctor become a more well-rounded person overall. Outside interests such as playing sports or attending professional sporting events, pursuing art creation, appreciating various kinds of art or finding your own specific niche to explore, will all help prioritize the time spent not working instead of just counting down the minutes until your next shift starts.

Committing to lifelong wellness

Few jobs are both as demanding and vital in society as those in the healthcare field. With such professional responsibility and literally having the lives of others in your own hands, there is no doubt integrating daily wellness activities into your routine can help balance the stress that comes with such a prominent position. Realizing that only when you are at your best can you give the best care is the first step on a lifelong journey to being the best physician and the best overall person that you can be.
Read PracticeLink articles from Stephen Leggitt

Stephen Leggitt

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