Category Archives: Work life balance for doctors

Connecting with Nature is a great way for doctors to combat stress

Time spent in nature is the most cost-effective and powerful way to counteract the burnout and sort of depression that we feel when we sit in front of a computer all day. Richard Louv

What message you get from looking at nature?

SInce overwork, stress and burnout are now so common amongst doctors, it’s vital to learn techniques to prevent these overwhelming you so that you can cope with life as a doctor.
The quotation says it all:  spend  time in nature each day then you will feel bette.

But how can you do this when you live and work in a big city, in a massive busy hospital? You might need to have your own piece of nature on your windowsill, or in a vase, or take the chance to get outside to a local park or gardens when you have some time.  Discovering how to find that time is vitally important!

Notice how the changes in the different seasons affect you.  Become more aware as you look at  trees, plants, birds, ants and butterflies how you can, if you are open to the process, find  messages for you from the nature around you.

For example there are messages about renewal and growth; about new life emerging from the barrenness of winter; the determination and the motivation and perseverance of migrating birds travelling vast distances to reach their goals.

You can see that there is always change, nothing stays the same in nature, yet things end and new beginnings start.

Reflect for yourself  how nature can inform  something about your own life?

What messages  are you getting from nature?

Connect with Nature and feel refreshed

Another way to be refreshed, and rejuvenated is to get away from your busy environment for a few days and stay with a small group of medics (who may or may not be working in Medicine) in an area of outstanding natural beauty in West Cornwall near Land’s End.

CLICK  to find out more about the  Connect and Change a retreat for Doctors which I am facilitating in Cornwall  next April 2014.

By connecting with Nature and neglected parts of yourself you will change and return refreshed, relaxed and renewed to cope with life  again.

When you care for yourself much more and stop giving  all to others,  you will become so much more effective at caring for your patients.

Find out more about the Retreat HERE

 

 

 

 

Challenges around time for doctors

Time Management tips

One of the most common challenges that doctors face is managing their time effectively. When you aren’t time-aware the work seems to be endless and takes priority over the rest of your life.

This means that your work-life balance suffers. The less you manage your time the more the problem grows. This has an impact on your life in and out of work too. Not only does it affect your friends and family but also your relationship with your partner.

Most crucial of all is on your own health and well-being. Because when you fail to manage your time effectively your personal physical and emotional health will be affected too.

Is it an inevitable part of a doctor’s lifestyle?

Not necessarily, although many doctors say they are overworked and don’t have enough time, to do things they used to enjoy away from work. It seems as though this feeling of being overworked becomes part of the medical culture, as if it was necessary to  ‘forget the rest of your life’ from the day you start your house jobs, when you started to work as a doctor.

Some doctors work and do nothing else to the detriment of their health and well-being and the relationships with those close to them. They forget how important self-care is to being a ‘whole person.’

Some can only cope with the stress and overwork by drinking or eating too much. Some decide to pack it all in and leave the profession.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.  What I want is for you to have a more balanced life – to be able to work well and efficiently as a doctor and also enjoy your life after work too.

If you leave work late each day and also take work home with you every evening or weekend, remind yourself that you are not super human and are just like every other human being. It’s OK to leave some things to do tomorrow and have some time for rest and relaxation too.

You need some time away from work and time to enjoy sport and hobbies and being with your partner, friends and family and also time for yourself and your own self-care.  If you neglect any or all of these your health, both physical and emotional will suffer and have an impact on the way you care for your patients.

If you go into your Hospital or Practice to catch up at the weekend, even when you aren’t on call,  then you need to take some action sooner rather than later to stop this way of life.

Coaching can help.

Work Life ‘Balance’ Isn’t the answer

shutterstock_36977740Many doctors tell me that they want to have better work life balance, but they struggle to find a way to achieve it.

Working as a doctor can have it’s ups and downs. There ail be many days when you feel excited and exhilarated  yet others when you are exhausted and overwhelmed. Both of these states can affect your life and relationships outside of Medicine.

Yet if you don’t improve the balance in your life you may become more and more stressed and both your work and your personal life will suffer.

How do some doctors cope?

1. They realise that work and life outside work is a matter of finding ways to be effective in both though not necessarily in relation to time actually spent in each role. Stop trying to keep all aspects of your life in separate compartments. Sometimes your best ideas might come to you while playing with your children or engaging in sport.

2. Define for yourself what you want in your life and realise that your definition of success may be different from others. Decide to follow your own path in being successful in your various roles.

3. Set your own boundaries in relation to what you will or won’t do in all aspects of your life.When you do this you will be able to define what are your personal priorities  so that you designate time for friends and family and for your own self-care of body mind and spirit.

It’s your life: live it on your terms!

Coaching helps to get this sorted! 

More time for you now

Most days there is just far too much to get done. If only there were more hours in the day!!

You know you have to get started on some really boring tasks but once again the day goes by and they just don’t get done.

The art of procrastination is alive and well. The longer the task is put off the more it seems to resemble something like a load and the load seems to get heavier and heavier the more you think about making a start. Where is the load inside you?  Close your eyes for a moment and imagine being able to lift it out and hold it in your hand (or hands if it’s very big!) With this load in your hand, what does it look like? What colour is it? What is the texture? How big is it? Does it make any sound? Can you make it smaller, much smaller; softer; lighter colour; lighter in itself?

Can you make it small enough to blow it away?

OK now tell yourself it’s time to decide on the very first step of the task you are delaying.

Perhaps some tips to add to your time management skills could also be useful?

By the way if you haven’t got a kindle ‘More time for you now is available as a printed book too


How working with a coach enables you to have a life and find your perfect balance between medicine and life

Perfect Work Life Balance

How working with a coach enables you to have a life and find your perfect balance between medicine and life

A coach:-

  • Pushes your buttons – so you think about whether you could make changes
  • Encourages you to do things you hadn’t considered before- so by doing something different other things in your life change too
  • Reminds you to keep on track with  your projects- so you achieve what you want
  • Follows up your promises of taking action – so you move forward step by step
  • Energises you to get started- by believing in your ability to succeed
  • Coaches you to find the solutions right for you- so you are empowered
  • Talks about the pros and cons of what you might do- so you move forward with conviction

 

  • Believes in you and your capabilities, so your self-esteem improves
  • Answers your questions, so you understand more about the process
  • Listens to you fully –so you feel  respected
  • Alerts you to possible challenges –so you are prepared for them
  • Never criticises your ideas, so you feel valued
  • Communicates with you appropriately –so you feel listened to
  • Encourages you at every step, so you keep going until you achieve what you want

Look here for some recent feedback from doctors about how they experienced  Coaching from me. 

Doctors and holidays another article.

I wrote previously about doctors and holidays and have just read an article from Software Advice about the same subject you might find interesting. I wonder whether you think the same rules apply to those of you who have their medical practice in the UK?

What struck me is the stories of so many doctors who never take holidays at all.  This can only lead to increased stress and an effect on general health and well-being.

Time for a holiday?

Here is the article: (Click the heading to read the whole article )

5 Rules for Taking a Vacation as a Solo-Practice Doctor – Software

medzip911.com11/13/12

5 Rules for Taking a Vacation as a Solo-Practice Doctor Software Advice (blog) It’s hard enough for any of us to consider taking a vacation in the current economic climate, let alone those of us responsible for the health of

 

 

What makes a doctor stressed and what can they do about it?

Doctor, you may feel stressed because of what you perceive as an  excessive workload, so you work very long hours.

You’ve noticed how this pattern affects your  home life, especially your relationships with your family and friends.

You’ve experienced the stress of keeping to government targets, especially when this means you have to persuade patients  of the importance of  having screening tests or examinations.  Although this could result in discovering pathology it also means an increase in time  spent with each patient, investigations and subsequent treatment.

Unrealistic demands from patients raise your level of stress too. These means time taken to explain why what the patient is requesting is not indicated. Sometimes you may give in and then feel the stress of doing something which may not be in the patient’s best interests.

There is, too, the ‘gremlin’ sitting on your shoulder, nudging you about possible  litigation and asking you whether you’ve done the right thing, in case  the patient decides to sue you.

When you feel well and unstressed  you can deal with all of these things in a relaxed and professional way, but what can you do to move from stress to confidence and calmness?

Ways to reduce your stress levels are simple. The strategies listed below may
seem like common sense and some of them are just that. They are probably things you know already and may even be advising your stressed patients to do these already.

  • Stop caffeine: this has a huge effect on stress levels. Limit caffeine to one cup or less a day and notice how your  stress decreases.
  • Learn to relax. Do this at least once a day. Arrange to have a gap, a 5- 10 minutes each day, when you can sit quietly. This could be when you take a break in the middle of the day, or  in your office between patients.  It’s fine to do this sitting in a comfortable chair.  Close your eyes and start with your feet, think about each area of your body, and  consciously tense the muscles and then relax them.Take relaxing breaths whenever you feel the stress rising. Take a slow breath in, to a count of five,  as you think about breathing in relaxation, then a slow breath out as you think about breathing out any tension in your body.
  • Do some regular exercise: walking for 20-30 minutes each day either from your car, bus or train, to your place of work, or by going outside  in your lunch hour  not only to have something to eat away from your desk and patients but also to have a walk. 
  • Eat more healthy foods, which means eating more complex carbohydrates and cutting down on sugar and other simple carbohydrates. Eat a Mediterranean type diet, with more fish and less saturated fats

However simple as they seem to be, they work. So take yourself in hand and resolve to try the  five strategies until they become new automatic habits for you. To become automatic you may have to repeat something new for 21 days. So make a chart with these five habits listed and tick them each day  you succeed in doing them.. You could also log your level of stress each day on a scale of 1 to 10 and notice the improvement.

Want some support while you change?  Find out about coaching.

 

Making changes: you have to take action and stop procrastinating!

So many doctors would like to have a different sort of life. Do you sometimes dream of a life, yes, as a doctor, but with the time to do the sort of work that inspires you and has a huge benefit for your patients? Yet instead you have to deal with the reality of busy clinics, demanding patients with not much wrong with them while others who you would dearly love to have the time and energy to treat and give the benefit of your expertise to, are side-tracked because you have to keep going to get the work done each day.

Take your first step!

Perhaps at first you were so thrilled to have qualified after all those long years of study as a medical student, that you were even glad to suffer the lack of sleep and heavy work load of the time you spent as a junior doctor, yet always dreaming of when you would become a consultant and then at least you would have the life you dreamed of.

Yet perhaps it hasn’t quite worked out the way you hoped. You are the victim of your own success. Even though you are highly intelligent you just don’t seem to be able to make the changes you know you want to make. You succumb to the ‘emotional blackmail’ of colleagues asking you to do extra work, or the opportunity to do extra private work, because you know you can genuinely help people with your expertise and you hate the idea of letting people down by saying ‘no’.

You are juggling too many plates in the air and are becoming more and more stressed as a result.

There is an alternative: you could:

  • discover how to free up more time
  • start to put yourself first for a change
  • do the work you love, yet on your terms
  • change something in yourself
  • actually take the actions you know you have to take
  • stop procrastinating
  • become highly motivated

How can you achieve all of these?
Be highly self-motivated, make your plans and take action. You already know what you want to do so ‘just do it.’ But you’ve been like that for years so what would give you that push you need to actually make that difference and initiate the changes you want?

Find someone who is ‘on your side’, supporting your ideas, motivating you to take action, acting as a sounding board, challenging you to think through what you plan so you so you develop the strategy best for you.

Find out more about COACHING

Time, Doctors and Work-Life Balance

How will you get your time management sorted?

Doctors contact me saying that one of their aims is to improve their work -life balance. They know what happens when this is too heavily weighted to their work activities, seeing patients, or doing the admin tasks of a busy medical practice and too little towards the rest of life, but feel they are unable to change anything.

This article  has 17 useful tips: http://www.aafp.org/fpm/2001/0600/p60.html

I’ve written a couple of Kindle books (Critical Time management mistakes and More than 80 ways)  on the subject too.

Also there’s the article I wrote which  recently published in the Independent Practitioner: CLICK HERE

If you want to have a quick chat call me here,

or find out about personal coaching here.

Time management: is it something you struggle with?

Attention doctors, physicians, registrars, junior doctors, private medical practitioners:

Time Management mistakes nearly every doctor makes.

Do you struggle to get things done through the day? Do you wonder what’s happened to the time and feel upset at how little you get done?

Do you notice that some of your colleagues seem to cope much better than you do with the amount of work there is to do each day?

What might happen if you carry on like this?

  • You are less and less efficient in relation to your medical work.
  • You forget about the life you had before you worked as a doctor.
  • Your friends and family complain that they never see you.
  • You take most of your holiday to unwind.
  • You regret becoming a doctor….

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But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are simple strategies you can adopt to take you to a place when you can:

  • leave work at a reasonable time
  • be able to relax and enjoy life away from work more
  • feel happier at work and get things done more efficiently and effectively
  • learn simple ways to make a difference in your life.

Here are the strategies you’ve been waiting for :

    • 3 reasons why doctors struggle with time management
    • 7 mistakes doctors make in relation to time
    • Simple ways to ways to overcome these
    • Benefits of managing your time more effectively

 

Time Management Mistakes nearly every doctor makes

Get it now for less than the price of a cup of coffee!!

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