How To Deal With Physician Burnout

Are you constantly feeling stressed out? Does it seem like the medical practice where you work is always chaotic? Are you missing out on important family events because you’re stuck at work? When you dedicate your life’s work to caring for others, it is naturally stressful. At some point, though, it’s important to figure out how to deal with physician burnout.

If you can’t remember the last time you took a warm, leisurely bath or had the free time to do something fun with your friends, you’re likely heading toward the danger zone when it comes to burnout.

Physician burnout is a common issue in the health care industry. A 2016 Mayo Clinic study found that doctors suffer from burnout in exceptionally high numbers compared to the general workforce. Nearly 49 percent of physician surveyed met the definition for burnout compared to only 28 percent of the general working population. Physicians work a median of 50 hours per week, and dissatisfaction in the health care industry among its workers is increasing, according to the study. About 400 doctors commit suicide each year.

It’s important to learn how to deal with physician burnout. To break it down, there are three phases of physician burnout. In the beginning, you’re typically noticing the high-stress environment at work, but pushing through it. Eventually, the stress starts to wear you down, and you’re starting to feel exhausted and uncomfortable. In the third stage of physician burnout, you’re heading toward the danger zone, and you should really start examining how to deal with physician burnout. The danger zone is that point in your career when you start to say things like, “Man I need to find a new job.”

Here are four tips for how to deal with physician burnout

1. Exercise

Set aside time in your day to get a workout in, even if it’s a short cardio or a lengthy yoga session. Any kind of body movement will feel good, and it can become a time for you to destress. Plus, reserving time for exercise will also ensure that you have time to yourself, which is a critical part of how to deal with physician burnout.

2. Diet

So now you’re working out and feeling good. What you eat can also play a critical role in how you feel both mentally and physically. Think about it. Although a greasy cheeseburger and French Fries on your short lunch break is appealing and convenient, it will likely leave you feeling lethargic and regretful the rest of the day. If you eat cleaner, healthier foods, it will give you more energy to face that long work day.

3. Seek support

You’re not alone. Everyone else is going through some kind of stress in their life too, so make sure to lean on the people around you. Friends, family, mentors – find someone who can relate. Nobody wants to constantly complain and bring everyone else down, but once in a while, a health venting session is exactly how to deal with physician burnout.

4. Prioritize

You’ve got health records to read through, lengthy reports to file and still have patients waiting to be seen. Learn to prioritize. If you do the most important responsibilities first, when your energy is at its highest, it will leave the less important, hopefully, less lengthy tasks, for last.


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