Working as a doctor is extraordinarily tough at the moment. No one else is going to take control of your wellbeing right now. The only person who can do this is YOU.
Self-care is part of our professional and personal responsibility and is NOT selfish.
Try these tips on how you can get a plan together so that you can take back control of your wellbeing so you can thrive rather than survive at work right now.
- Set aside half an hour or so. Make your favourite drink, light your favourite candle or sit in your favourite chair.
- Acknowledge its difficult and tough right now. By doing this, you are normalising your experiences and your reality right now.
- Try embracing the guilt. Recognise that you are a good person with a big heart and that you care. You are a human and not a robot. There is only so much you can do. Remember “I’m saying no to this, however I am still doing this…x, y, z”
- Reduce or stop “fawning” and doing things to people please.
- Plot out your actual week and ALL the things you are actually doing.
- Plot out how you would like your actual week to be to include your wellbeing factors and the things that matter to you to ensure you thrive and have time for the things that are important to you. What’s important to you to maintain your wellbeing? What are your key wellbeing factors? The NHS top 5 wellbeing factors are connection (with yourself and with others- this is the most important factor), exercise (do the exercise that’s important to you), learning something new (this will get you into flow), giving to others (small acts of kindness and gratitude) and being in the moment, being present and noticing. Whatever works best for you- put them in your week.
- Plan in breaks. Regular breaks are essential to allow your brain to go into diffuse mode to relax and reenergise. When you have a break, your right and left cerebral hemispheres talk to each other and start solving problems.
- Plan in rest times. What works best for you to rest and recharge? A walk outside to connect with nature? Looking at compassionate images or objects in your office?
- Set boundaries and use boundary rituals to decompress between one role and the next – for example leaving work and going home, going from one meeting to another.
- Feeling overwhelmed? Not sure whether to say yes or no to a request from another person? Are you overscheduling your thrive week? Then try asking yourself these questions to make it easier for you
“Will this bring me joy?”
“What would make this easier or more joyful?”
“Will this maintain my well-being, or will this threaten it?
“is this a Hell-no or a Hell-yeah response?”
Keep reminding yourself that ‘imperfect action is ok”
- Start by taking small steps towards your thrive week. What is the first and easiest step you can take this week? How can you build on the progress you achieve next week and the week after that? Always celebrate your achievements and reward yourself when you have achieved each step you take.
All it takes is giving yourself permission and then setting your intention.
Start small, and practice.
Making small tweaks will create huge benefits to you and your wellbeing!