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YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

4

Get Off the Couch

When you have extended time off, don't just "chill." This
may be counterintuitive for those who are constantly on their
feet all day, but hear me out. Humans are meant to be moving
consistently yet have regular-but shorter-down periods. When
we rush all day and then stop and sit for hours on end, especially
on our screens, it can have the opposite effect of what we'd want-
to feel rejuvenated. When you are feeling exhausted and have a
weekend off, don't make it a habit that all you do is hang out on
the couch and zone out all day. Instead, be aware of how your
using your time off, and be intentional about using it efficiently.
5

Friendships are Preventative Medicine

Nurture friendships outside of medicine. Maintaining a healthy
perspective in life can be supported when we connect with people
who are outside our sphere of influence. Supportive and healthy
relationships are critical to our mental health.
6

Get ZZZZ's

Seriously. Log your sleep for a week and see if you're getting
8-9 hours in bed, lights off, without devices, every.single.night. If
you're not, change your lifestyle so you can. When we accumulate
a sleep debt, as nearly all physicians in residency do, it is a fallacy
that just one or two nights' sleep will recoup the loss. Depriving
yourself of proper sleep is a zero sum game. If you lose it, it's
gone forever. Sleep hygiene is critical when working in medicine,
especially when a patient's life is in your hands. Get good habits
started today.
7

Cope with the Tough Times

Watch for your grief. It will come. When it is appropriate,
let yourself feel the feelings of sadness, despair or anger when a
patient unexpectedly dies. Armoring yourself day in and day out
contributes to a toxic response that numbs us from our pain.
When we are numb to our pain, we are numb to joy, compassion
and love. Feel those feelings, garner self-compassion, learn
strategies to cope, and let those feelings go.
8

Gratitude!

Keep a journal of successes in your career. Which cases are
victories, and which ones were challenging and you dealt with
well? What are you most grateful for? Remembering where you've
been and how you've grown can help you out when things get
tough down the line.
9

Check Yourself-and that empty wine glass...

Watch for substance abuse. Just as we can numb ourselves
through our screens or devices, we can do the same through
alcohol or drugs. Physicians are at an increased risk than the

general population for substance abuse and addiction. Be aware
of how you are coping, and get help if you start feeling like you're
getting out of control, you notice you become dependent, or fear
that it's affecting your job or relationships.
10

PTO=Sanity

Take your vacation time, and don't let it slide. Americans are
known to waste precious dedicated vacation time, even when it
is paid, and physicians are no exception. Grit your teeth and take
that time away for your health, well-being, and to connect with
your loved ones and the wider world around you. Medicine can
feel like a hamster wheel, so be intentional about regularly getting
off that ride.
The world needs physicians who care for themselves as much
as they care for their patients. Preserving health and emotional
wellness is a first step to become the thriving, successful physician
you've been training for years to grow into. When being
intentional about maintaining resiliency, you can prevent feelings
of burnout and fatigue that can translate into stress, overwhelm,
and irritability. When you are moving into the career you've
dreamed of for years, start on the right foot and years down the
line you'll be grateful you did.
Note: This article is not intended to replace medical advice and is for
informational purposes only. If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed,
anxious, or otherwise "not yourself," it may be time to reach out for
extra help. Confidential support is out there; check out PA's Physician
Health Program at www.foundationpameddoc.org or reach out to
Allie at alliekochert@itherapymail.com.
Allie Kochert, MA, LPC, is a
Licensed Professional Counselor
who provides support,
counseling and consulting to
individuals in the helping or
healing professions such as
physicians, nurses, therapists and
clergy. She graduated from West
Chester University in 2005, has
worked in hospitals, agencies,
and group practice for 15 years,
and currently owns and works
at Rooted Growth Counseling, a
telehealth private practice based
in York, PA. She can be found at
www.alliekochert.com.

WINTER 2019 | York County Medicine

23


http://www.YORKCOMEDSOC.ORG http://www.foundationpameddoc.org http://www.alliekochert.com

York County Medicine Winter 2019

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