By Lorraine Scott, Physician Health Program Director, Saskatchewan Medical Association
Burnout VS Stress
The busiest and most stressful season is just around the corner and this time of year can be exceptionally busy for physicians. It is very important that physicians remain aware of what they are feeling and how they are functioning in their personal lives and in their work lives.
The potential for physician burnout at this time of year is “increasing year after year” (Carole Wehbe Chidiac, Dec 10, 2018, Holidays Triggering Physicians Burnout). Maintaining self care and recognizing the earliest symptoms so you can take quick action is the best means for you to remain physically and mentally heathy.
A quick description of the effects of stress can be that it produces a sense of urgency and panic coupled often with loss of energy and fuel. Burnout involves emotional and physical exhaustion, a sense of detachment and feeling that what you do doesn’t make a difference.
Some early signs you might notice are being disinterested in your patients, your work and personal activities, feeling frustrated at times over things that would not have bothered you before and loss of motivation.
Experiencing any of these symptoms calls for actions on your part. But what can you do?
Evaluate what is happening for you, look for things that you have changed. Stay in touch with what has been working well for you.
Be sure you are providing yourself with proper self care, healthy diet, hydrating, exercise, rest and fresh air. Prioritize and commit to scheduling personal time for yourself, family, and vacation.
Above all, stay true to your healthy boundaries and know that not everything is your responsibility.