Surgeon burnout is an epidemic. Many physicians who are experiencing the signs and symptoms of burnout don’t know what to do to deal with the burnout. In a previous article, we talked about some of the factors that can cause physician burnout. Now let’s look at prevention. This article will offer some tips for avoiding surgeon burnout before it takes over. Pick any of these 4 to start on. You don't have to do them all perfectly. Just start making an effort now.
Eat a Balanced Diet
The old saying “you are what you eat” holds more truth that we like to give it. Eating fast food, junk food, and drinking a lot of sugary drinks offer short term satisfaction, but can really take a toll on your body in the long run. Eating a healthy diet composed of vegetables, fiber, and protein can do wonders for your overall health.
Form Healthy Sleep Habits
Sleep is absolutely essential to your overall health – both physical and mental. Sleep deprivation can increase your stress levels and increase your likelihood of making mistakes on the job. Many doctors have to work odd hours (especially when on call). This can lead to a disruption of the standard sleep schedule, and force doctors to compensate with caffeine. In turn, this can cause a vicious cycle of drinking caffeine to stay awake, and then not being able to sleep because of too much caffeine. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages in the hours before sleep to ensure a solid night’s rest.
Regular exercise is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. You’d think that doctors should know that better than anyone! However, with long work hours and other stressors, many physicians find it difficult to stick to a workout routine. But making the time to exercise on a daily basis – even for just 30 minutes can significantly improve your energy at work and your overall health.
Say No When You Need To
Many doctors try to do everything that’s asked of them, and in doing so, spread themselves too thin. When you have such an important job where lives are at stake, it can be tempting to do everything and never say no. However, surgeons also need to think about their own physical and mental health. If you’re constantly saying yes and working crazy hours, you’re cutting into your time with family and friends. Creating and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is an essential step towards preventing surgeon burnout.
Many physicians struggle with burnout on a daily basis. It’s important to recognize the signs of burnout and take proactive steps to prevent burnout before it overwhelms you. I’ve been helping surgeons mitigate burnout for years using the 8 PRACTICEs of Highly Successful Surgeons. I developed this methodology after my own struggles with physician burnout. Contact me for more information on my surgeon burnout prevention methodology and to set up a consultation.