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Podcast Provides Tips for Banishing Burnout

Posted on Wed, Mar 15, 2017
Podcast Provides Tips for Banishing Burnout

More and more clinicians are reporting feelings of burnout and a need to find a better work/life balance. In fact, the Medscape Lifestyle Report 2016: Bias and Burnout concluded that burnout among U.S. physicians has reached “a critical level.”

While each physician’s personal and professional pressures vary, most research on the topic suggests that to amp up their resiliency and stave off compassion fatigue, clinicians should reconnect to the people and activities that are a source of joy, and make the most of their “downtime” to provide a sense of control amid the chaos.

Gretchen Rubin has written several books on happiness and forming positive habits, including Better than Before, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. Rubin shared the following tips during her weekly podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Finding Everyday Joy

  • Take photos of everyday life – the foam on your coffee, rain patterns on the window pane, the assortment of pens and sticky pads in your lab coat – for a new perspective.
  • Pick a one word theme or phrase for the rest of the year. For example, “novel” to remind you to try new things or finally get your thoughts in print, or “vision” to frame where you see yourself personally, professionally, spiritually, health wise and/or financially in the near future.
  • Set a timer for writing, painting, baking or any other creative endeavor that you’ve had trouble fitting into your schedule.
  • Be a minor expert, meaning if you have an interest in a topic, commit to learning as much about it as you can.
  • Buy – and read – three magazines that you'd usually never read.
  • Start a passion project. Much like being a minor expert, follow your gut and pursue that project that keeps you awake at night.

Maximizing Your Time

  • If it only take a minute to do it, do it now and cross it off your to-do list.
  • Plan a “power hour” each week to knock out lingering tasks.
  • Turn off your TV to avoid falling into a Netflix binge.
  • Use reminders on your phone for tasks you keep forgetting to complete.

Forming Healthy Habits

  • Use scheduling to build positive habits. Block out time for the gym, meditation, meal prep, etc., on your calendar and don't make excuses when those “appointments” come up.
  • Set an alarm for your bedtime as well as your wake time to reinforce your routine and ensure healthy sleep patterns.
  • Give yourself “gold stars” and “demerits” each week. By reviewing your successes and misses, you’ll be better prepared next time.

For more information about the topics of burnout and resiliency, visit EmCare’s website or the wellness resources on ACEP’s website.

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