It is summertime and thousands of physicians and healthcare professionals all over the states are taking a well-deserved break. After long days in the clinic treating patients, they can finally take an opportunity to rest and take care of themselves. Then, there’s the rest of us doing 16 hour shifts, dealing with management and trying to be personable to patients on 20 minute slots. We are sleep-deprived and our brain is on fire. We are high on our third cup of coffee and it’s only 11:00am. The clock keeps ticking. Tic toc. Tic toc.
As health professionals we are always taking care of our patients. To show vulnerability or empathy is seen as a sign of weakness in this field. We are relentless overachievers. We work under an impressive amount of pressure and we cannot crack, not even for a second. We must maintain composure at all times. Patients depend on us. On top of that we are wives, mothers and caretakers. We must provide healing and fill someone else’s cup. But what about our cup? We cannot fill someone else’s cup when ours is running on empty. We must take care of ourselves first, physically and mentally, in order to undertake the day-to-day challenges that being a healer represents. Sometimes we forget the health profession is a profession of service. In order to serve people, we must be people.
Here are 6 tips that you can implement in your daily routine to maintain your well-being while you are being bombarded with the countless tasks.
1. Prioritize- To learn what is a priority and what can be sent to the back burner is a skill to be mastered. When we learn to prioritize what is important, then we can save energy, be less stressed out and focus on being productive.
2. Find a support group– Sometimes we only need someone to listen to us. Talk to your friend or loved one and tell them how you are feeling. A good talk can decompress the heart and the mind. Chances are that person has already noticed that stress has taken a toll on your personality and they were only waiting for you to mention something.
3. Take a break- Whether is 5 minutes in the break room or some alone time during lunch, taking a break is vital for wellness. The opportunity to process your thoughts and emotions and to touch base with yourself can only improve how you connect with yourself and with others.
4. Exercise the body as well as the mind- Find a hobby outside of your work responsibilities. It could be hiking, pilates or cooking. Implementing a hobby into your routine will give you time to relax and refocus so you can go back to treating patients with renewed energy.
5. Find a mentor- Remember that this path has been walked by people before you. To recognize and find an experienced and trusted adviser is priceless. Listen to their stories and the challenges that they were able to overcome. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to tell you their story and give you advice. This will give you hope and it will empower you to make important decisions throughout your journey.
6. Be flexible- Being rigid under pressure can only make you crack. Give yourself the opportunity to be flexible and malleable. When you adapt to harsh conditions you have more chances of coping and being successful. Remember, you must be kind to yourself first. Only then you can be kind to others.