Doctor, remember to look after yourself too

Every time you are busy seeing patients in your clinic or surgery you have to recall a wealth of information about them, their condition and about what you can do to help to diagnose and treat their illness. You may have developed your own way to do this so that you follow a routine.

For example after finding out their presenting symptoms asking them in a routine way about each of their body systems in turn so that you get an all over picture of what might be the cause of their illness and what you need to do next to find out more about it.
Yes, as a busy doctor you may be concentrating most of the time on your patients and forgetting to do what you must also do for your personal health and well being.

So you could devise a similar strategy for yourself as you use for your patients. Could you think of a mnemonic to remind you what needs to be checked each day or each week? For example if you said SCREEL to yourself every day and knew this stood for: Spirituality, Community, Relaxation, Exercise, Eating, and Learning would you remember these various aspects of self care which are important to maintain your health and well being as a doctor and as a human.

Spirituality: Connecting with nature, smelling the roses, watching an insect, saying a prayer, meditating, breathing, or whatever you do to connect with something beyond yourself.

Community: it is said that no man is an island, so make sure you connect with others away from work and with those who share your interests.

Relaxation: practice letting go of tension for a few minutes each day.

Exercise: your body needs to move and stretch, your heart needs to beat faster and your limbs need to transport you, so walking, running, doing yoga, dancing or moving in whatever way you can to keep your body working efficiently.

Eating: More fruit and vegetables, olive oil, nuts and protein, less junk, sugar, salt and e-numbers. Eat healthily and become healthier.

Learning: something new each day. Looking up words, reading books, thinking, discovering, learning and keeping your brain functioning well.

If you can think of a more relevant mnemonic for you do so and say it to yourself every day to remind yourself to spend just a few minutes addressing the various parts of your life in this way and as a result your self care will improve enormously.

Coaching enables you to be a doctor and have a life.

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