Physician Heal Thyself

photo by Josh Scholten

Most physicians do not follow their own advice. Too many of us are overly tired, cranky, and resentful about our work load, so not looking forward to the dawn of the next work day.

Here is advice we all know but don’t always allow ourselves to follow:

1) Sleep. Plenty. Weekend and days-off naps permitted. It’s one thing you can’t delegate someone else to do for you.

2) Don’t skip meals. Ever. Especially if there is family involved.

3) Drink water through the day.

4) Because of 3) go to the bathroom when it is time to go and not four hours later.

4) Nurture the people (and other breathing beings) who love and care for you.

5) Exercise whenever possible. Take the stairs. Park on the far side of the lot. Dance on the way to the next exam room.

6) Believe in something more infinite than you are.

7) Time off is sacred. When not on call, don’t take calls except from family and friends. No exceptions.

8 ) Learn how to say no gracefully—try “not now but maybe sometime in the future and thanks for thinking of me”.

9) Celebrate being unscheduled and unplanned when not scheduled and planned.

10) Get away. Far away. Whenever possible. The back yard counts.

11) Connect regularly with people and activities that have absolutely nothing to do with medicine and health care.

12) Cherish mentors, coaches and teachers that can help you grow and refine your profession and your person.

13) Start your work day on time. End your work day a little before you think you should.

14) Smile at people who are not expecting it. Smile at people who don’t think they deserve it. If you can’t get your lips to smile, smile with your eyes.

15) Practice gratitude daily.

photo by Josh Scholten