New Stress-Relief Tips for Top Doctors During the Holiday Season

Are you feeling stressed this time of year? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Studies show that anywhere from 20 to 60 percent of physicians experience burnout at some point in their careers. With the holidays being such a busy, hectic season, it’s no surprise if you find yourself a part of that statistic right now.
If you know you’re prone to stress during the holidays, try to incorporate new stress-relief tips into your routine. You may be short on time, but making an extra effort to ease your mind and lower your stress levels can not only positively impact yourself, your family and your friends, it can also positively impact your patients.
Accept your limitations.
You’re one person. You can’t do it all. From working more than 40 hours a week (which most doctors do) to holiday shopping for loved ones to planning family gatherings, there’s a lot on your plate this time of year. Acknowledge what you can get done versus what you simply don’t have time for. Ask loved ones to help with the things you can’t do. They should understand that you’re busy and are low on time. And remember: it’s okay to say no.
Set aside any amount of time – even 20 minutes a day – to exercise.
As a doctor, you know how important exercise is for the mind and body. But do you take your own advice? We know you’re short on time, but make an extra effort this time of year to incorporate a small amount of exercise into your daily routine. It can help ease your stress and strengthen your body.
Practice mindfulness.
Simply by becoming more attentive to the present moment, you can see a reduction in your stress levels. There are many online resources and even in-person courses that teach mindfulness. It can help physicians with burnout and stress because it grounds you in the moment, rather than the past or the future.
Go outside for 5 minutes.
Nature can be more calming than you think. During your workday (or even when you’re not working but are feeling stressed), take a few minutes to go outside. If you live in a warmer climate, feel the grass between your toes. If you live in a colder climate, close your eyes and listen to the quiet of winter. Take deep breaths. Focus on your surroundings. This can help clear your mind and give you the boost you need to get back to your day.
When you’re young, you laugh on average 140 times per day. As an adult, you probably only laugh 12 to 14 times per day. There’s a reason little kids have much less stress than adults, and laughter could be a big part of it. Make an extra effort to laugh when you’re feeling stressed. Watch a funny video online. Joke around with coworkers or family. Relax with your favorite comedy TV show or movie at home. Whatever it is that makes you laugh, do it more of it.
Sometimes you need to shut down your electronics, like your smartphone, email, computer, television and radio. Choose a certain amount of time, like half an hour, to avoid all electronics. This will help you to focus on fewer things at once. It’ll also keep you from thinking about work, or hearing bad news on the television, or other distractions that can fuel your stress.
The holidays are supposed to be a joyful, festive time of year, but they can also be stressful – especially for busy doctors. Take extra caution to incorporate stress-relief into your schedule so you’re not faced with burnout. It’ll benefit you and your patients and help to you to continue to be the top doctor you are.
SourceCastle Connolly Medical Ltd | 12/8/15