As a physician - or any healthcare professional for that matter - it can be tough to find some time for yourself. Long hours spent in a stressful environment can make it nearly impossible to get some rest and relaxation, even after you've set aside your lab coat and stethoscope for the day. Time is a precious resource and it’s important that you’re using your free time in ways that will benefit you the most!
How you spend your off hours can actually increase your productivity and success at work. Choosing the correct hobbies or activities to partake in during your free time can ensure that you’re happy and healthy both physically and mentally. Below are just a few great ways that you can make the most of your physician free time.
How can physicians get the most out of their precious free time?
It sounds unproductive, but sleep is actually a great way to spend your downtime as a physician. With the long hours spent at the facility or even on-call, sleep is precious – and the more sleep you get, the better you’ll perform. Studies show that getting a good night’s rest can greatly increase your performance in the workplace, so if you have some spare minutes, use it to get some much-needed shuteye. Sleep is a useful activity that will help your mind and body a lot.
Reading is another great way to spend your free time. Author Michael Crichton, who wrote classics like The Lost Worldand Jurassic Park, was both a doctor and an avid reader before he made the transition into a novelist. Reading is a great way to not only gain knowledge, but to stretch out certain muscles in your brain that you may not be using on a daily basis. Others use reading as a form of escape. After a long day at work, why not transport yourself into a completely different setting? A little relaxation with a book is the perfect thing you need to ensure that you’re in the right mindset when you head back into work.
Spending time with your family is a great way to spend your time off from work. Whether it’s going to the movies, watching a local sporting event, or simply relaxing at home, spending time with your family will surely energize you for the rest of the workweek.
One of the biggest issues that physicians face is bringing the emotions from work into his or her home. The stress and frustration that physicians might deal with during their shift can often be projected onto family, which can lead to unhealthy conflict. Make sure that you’re separating your job and home life so you’re not creating unnecessary issues. Try to plan activities that incorporate the entire family but don’t forget to set aside some alone time for you and your significant other. Spending time with the family will make sure that you’re keeping a healthy balance between life at home and life at work.
One hobby that many physicians fail to consider is participating in a mentorship program. These programs will give you the fulfillment of helping others all while staying active in your community and/or workplace. A mentorship program through work will give you the opportunity to guide a younger resident through his or her healthcare journey. This is a great way to not only strengthen your relationship with the rest of the staff, but to pass down some knowledge to the next generation of medical professionals. Something as simple as getting lunch with your mentoree can go a long way towards creating a bond with your staff. Another option is to mentor kids in a big brother/ big sister type of program that will give you the opportunity to mentor the younger generation. This can be very rewarding for both parties and will give you a sense of fulfillment.
If you’re looking for a change of pace in your healthcare career, try a locum tenens assignment! You’ll be able to travel the United States and take advantage of your free time as much as possible. Get started today!