Studies show 60% of practicing doctors experience depression in their field. This is an alarming statistic but isn’t surprising because of all the burnout, intense workload and stressful situations they’re in every day. Medicine isn’t an easy field to maintain mental health awareness because doctors are always thinking about their patients. You can combat the rigor stressors of med school with counselors such as Rachel Tobin Yale who as a teaching professional can help you navigate the stressful academic part of becoming a doctor. However, when you enter the workforce as a doctor, who can you go to for help if you start experiencing depression? Here are three ways you can help yourself combat burnout in medicine.
1. Prioritize Your Body
Unlike normal work schedules, doctors can be on call and work super irregular hours because healthcare is needed at all hours of the day. This can take a toll on your body if you aren’t eating healthy or aren’t prioritizing exercising. While you may be able to tell your patients these valuable tips, a doctor has to also take their own medicine. Be purposeful in how you can incorporate working out into your everyday routine and find ways to eat healthy while working weird shifts. Here are some tips for how to meal prep healthy dinners you can bring with you for the week.
2. Be Aware of Your Mental State
As a doctor, you shouldn’t ignore signs that may show you’re experiencing depression or anxiety. You have people’s lives in your hands, and if you’re not in the right place mentally, you could affect someone’s livelihood in detrimental ways. You can help your mind function better in this high-stress environment by learning to compartmentalize your emotions, finding ways to release the built-up stress or sadness you may experience and practicing mindfulness routines such as deep breathing and stretching.
3. View Each Patient as a Person, Not a Number
When working with a lot of different people, it can be easy to ignore the humanity of what they’re dealing with. A lot of stressful court cases forged against doctors are because the patient didn’t feel like you cared about them and therefore decided to pursue the legal route for repercussions. You need to establish a rapport with your patients, so both of you know you’re on the same team, looking to fix their health concerns.
Many people experience depression, but doctors do so at higher rates. If your passion is medicine, it’s imperative you find ways to prioritize your health to ensure you’re doing the best job you can for yourself and your patients.