Thursday, February 10, 2011

New blog to follow

A previous commenter mentioned her blog, and I liked it so much that I had to link to it here:

I'm a huge advocate for looking after your personal health, both physical, mental and every other aspect of your life, so this is just the kind of thing I am passionate about, and it would do you some good to have a read, too.

I know that it is drummed into us all of the time - doctors and medical students don't take enough care of our own health. This is bad for us, and if we end up unhealthy as a result of lifestyle choices, our patients are less likely to believe our advice when we counsel them to change their ways.

Plus, we end up miserable and ill, and nobody really wants to end up an unhappy and sick, particularly if your entire day is spent looking after people suffering the exact same issues, right?

We don't need to be health fanatics, but a little moderation, exercise, stress relief and balance (where we can fit it in) can go a long way.

Ironically, two months into internship I'm feeling better both physically and mentally than I have in a long time, and I was genuinely happy by the end of medical school. I got into some healthy habits to cope with the extreme stress I felt when starting out, and as a result, they have helped me feel much happier now that I have gotten used to life as a junior doctor.

What have I learned works for me? Meditation (relaxation, mainly), moderate exercise with my significant other (making it social), and eating well.

My favourite tip so far? I read from various sources that it was a good idea to have some kind of ritual when you finish work at the end of the day that would help you disconnect from your "work time" and help you enter in to "home time".

For me, that is going for a nice walk or run with my husband. I get to have a good chat and get some incidental exercise. I know it isn't much, but it has gotten to the point where it doesn't feel like exercise any more. I know I'll go through rotations where this isn't possible every day, but it has been lovely being able to establish this habit.

For other people, the ritual can be five minutes of relaxation and deep breathing in the car before getting out when you arrive home. Others need to spend a certain amount of time alone in their own space when they get home from work, so they can switch off and re-energise before entering into their family space.

The point is that we need to be able to detach from work in order to live a full and well-rounded life. Medicine can be all-consuming, but this does not produce healthy or happy doctors, and being a well doctor is a vital thing that you can do for your patients, yourself and for your family.

Take care.

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