Sometimes we suffer from burnout and we don’t even know about it. We’re the last to find out. But just think… have you experienced emotional exhaustion, leading to easily becoming irritable or downhearted.
Perhaps replacement of usual empathy with cynicism, negativity, and feeling emotionally numb, which is called depersonalization.
OK maybe it’s not that bad, maybe you’re just tired all the time. If you’re suffering from any of the above chances are you are experiencing burnout.
Practicing medicine is an important and rewarding career path that attracts some of the brightest and most driven individuals.
Unfortunately, practicing medicine is also an increasingly challenging and stressful profession with a high rate of job burnout. In this article we will discuss a few ways to identify it, prevent it and deal with it.
Most physicians should be able to identify burnout and seek assistance before it takes a heavy toll in their work life and personal life. Among the most common symptoms of burnout are:
– Frequent headaches and muscle aches
– Withdrawal from responsibilities
– Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early
– Isolating from others
– Loss of motivation
– Increased cynical or negative outlook
– Feeling helpless, trapped or defeated
– Decreased satisfaction or sense of accomplishment
– Feeling tired and drained most of the time
– Tiredness that does not respond to adequate rest
– Change in appetite or sleep habits
1. Start Delegating
We have identified a problem and it’s time to talk about solutions. One of the most effective ways to deal with burnout is delegating. How many of the tasks you perform every day could be managed by someone else?
Seriously, there are tasks that you probably find tedious, but there is someone out there who loves doing them. That’s why I always recommend working with virtual assistants.
Even at work, you can delegate. As a leader, delegating is important because you can’t—and shouldn’t—do everything yourself. Delegating empowers your team, builds trust, and assists with professional development.
Delegation can be a chance to make workloads more manageable, but more than that, it can free up some time for you. It is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of a strong leader and it’s one of the best ways of preventing burnout.
2. Start Blocking Your Calendar
Carve out time for exercise. As few as 10 minutes a day of physical activity can help boost mood, improve sleep, and maintain healthy weight.
You don’t always have to go 100%, sometimes 10% is better than nothing. Start when you can and make your way up.
Make some time to read something non-medical. Even if you enjoy catching up on the latest medical news in your spare time, spending 10 minutes engrossed in a good self improvement book, novel, or magazine can get your head out of workday stresses and help you feel refreshed.
Non-medical stuff could also mean house hacking, investing in real estate, starting a business or working on a passion project.
You might be thinking you don’t have time for any of that, but keep in mind you are always in control of your time. Make it happen! Again, you don’t have to go 100% with anything. Just take action.
Most importantly, make sure you schedule some family time, go for a coffee with a friend or travel. These activities are often neglected when we don’t make time for them in our calendars.
3. Start Negotiating
Let’s communicate and have those difficult conversations that could lead to a better life. Maybe you need a raise or reduce your workload. Consider schedule adjustments.
When appropriate, changing the number of hours worked or the timing of shifts can help alleviate burnout.
Create value so you have the power to negotiate and never take no for an answer. Think about creating other streams of income, so you have the opportunity to reduce your work time without taking an overall pay cut.
4. Start Seeking Others
Find a mentor or support group. Talking with peers in a safe and confidential setting can alleviate stress and give physicians an opportunity to discuss strategies that they’ve found to be effective in combating burnout.
I also recommend joining non-medical groups. Being part of a new community will give you a new perspective, especially if you are thinking about investing or starting a new business.
Find people to discuss strategies or find out what they’re doing. There are many communities online. Not only will they guide you and help you build confidence in your new venture but they will also serve as an escape from routine to help you reduce burnout.