How to Prevent Physician Burnout & Prioritize Self-Care

Author: Medelita Editorial Team | May 20, 2024

how to prevent physician burnout & prioritize self-care how to prevent physician burnout & prioritize self-care

Physician burnout is a pressing issue in healthcare, affecting not just the quality of care but also your personal well-being. Let's explore how recognizing the signs of burnout early and using strategic measures can help you maintain your passion and effectiveness in your medical career.

Recognizing the Signs of Physician Burnout

Early recognition of burnout symptoms in oneself or in colleagues is the first step toward addressing the problem.

What Are Symptoms of Burnout?

Physician burnout manifests in various ways, impacting physical, emotional and behavioral health. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, insomnia, headaches, feelings of defeat, cynicism, detachment from responsibilities and withdrawing from colleagues. You may also find yourself less present at work, potentially using substances as a coping mechanism.

Common Triggers of Burnout

Burnout doesn't happen overnight but results from prolonged exposure to multiple stressors. Excessive workload with demanding hours often leads to fatigue and stress, while feeling a lack of control due to micromanagement or limited resources can create feelings of helplessness.

Inadequate rewards, including financial compensation and lack of professional growth, poor communication and workplace conflicts further strain relationships. A mismatch between personal values and workplace demands or perceived unfair treatment also increases the risk of burnout.

The Impact of Burnout on Professional and Personal Life

Burnout doesn’t stop at the clinic door—it spills into your personal life, affecting relationships and personal happiness. It can also lower your patients' care standards. Understanding this can help underscore the need for proactive burnout management.

Tips from Real Physicians to Prevent Burnout

Here at Medelita, we reached out to physicians to share their personal strategies and insights on balancing work and life in the healthcare field.

Balancing Work and Life Through Authenticity

quote from Charis Chambers, MD quote from Charis Chambers, MD

"Balancing work and life is much easier when you are celebrated for being your authentic self. My journey to finding balance in my life has required me to be radically honest about what fits and what doesn’t. Instead of forcing myself to fit in places and roles that don’t suit me, I’m opting for the tailored and more customized approach. That’s why I love Medelita. Their lab coat isn’t just another item that I wear to work. It fits my frame, emphasizes my waist, declares my name and confirms my title."
- Charis Chambers, MD @theperioddoctor

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

quote from Natalie Crump, PA-C quote from Natalie Crump, PA-C

"Imposter syndrome can be crippling at times… but it doesn’t have to be. So often during my training and as a clinician I’ve felt the urge to play it small or doubt my abilities. The feelings of insecurity never fully disappear, but showing up as your best self is easier when you:

  1. Breathe.
  2. Affirm and re-affirm who you are and the work you’ve put in.
  3. Reflect on your progress and all you’ve accomplished.
  4. Reshape the story you tell yourself.
  5. You are enough, and you deserve to be in these spaces."

- Natalie Crump, PA-C @natalie_marie_

Gratitude and Perspective

quote from Siddardth Umapathy, DO quote from Siddardth Umapathy, DO

"PSA: Remember to be thankful for how far you have come, because not so long ago… you dreamt of being in the position that you are in today."
- Siddardth Umapathy, DO

The Benefits of Physical Activity

quote from Jonathan Llamas, DNP quote from Jonathan Llamas, DNP

"One of my favorite things to do in the morning, especially on my days off, is running. Running not only improves cardiovascular health but also reduces stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol. Not to mention, running is also a great way to help increase our energy levels and boost our immune system."
- Jonathan Llamas, DNP @drjonathanvllamas

These tips and contributions from healthcare professionals offer practical advice and demonstrate how embracing identity, maintaining physical health and staying connected to one’s progress can significantly enhance professional life and well-being.

How to Prevent Physician Burnout in 10 Engaging Ways

1. Establishing Work-Life Boundaries

Set firm lines between work and home. Your off-time should rejuvenate you, not remind you of pending tasks. This balance is critical for sustained mental health and professional enthusiasm.

2. Importance of Time Management and Delegation

Master your schedule, don't let it master you. Delegating non-essential tasks frees you to focus on what you trained for—caring for patients. It’s about working smarter, not harder.

3. Rediscovering the Joy in Daily Practice

Reconnect with what drew you to medicine. Tap back into that initial spark to fuel your daily practice and keep the flame of passion alive.

4. Engaging in Rewarding Professional Activities

Expand your horizon—attend workshops, network at seminars or join professional groups. These activities can refresh your perspective and inject excitement back into your career.

5. Mindfulness and Meditation Techniques

A quiet mind heals. Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your routine can help manage the stress that often leads to burnout.

6. Regular Physical Activity and Its Benefits

Stay active, stay sharp. Physical health bolsters mental health, providing the energy needed to tackle challenging days.

7. Mentorship and Its Role in Career Satisfaction

Whether mentoring others or receiving guidance, mentorship enriches your professional life, offering support and a sense of community.

8. Exploring New Hobbies

Life beyond medicine can be enriching. Dive into new hobbies to discover joy and fulfillment outside of your clinical responsibilities.

9. Efficient Patient Scheduling

Streamlining your schedule can prevent the day from becoming overwhelming and help you give each patient the attention they deserve.

10. Streamlining Administrative Tasks

Simplify where you can. Cutting down on bureaucracy and admin duties helps you focus more on patient care and less on paperwork.

The Role of Professional Attire in Preventing Burnout

The right gear truly matters. Wearing comfortable medical clothing is vital because it directly impacts your physical comfort and your ability to perform tasks without restriction.

Medelita's physician scrubs and lab coats are specifically designed to support the unique needs of healthcare professionals like you. These garments provide unmatched comfort and functionality, which are crucial in reducing daily stress and enhancing your professional appearance.

Feeling good in what you wear can improve your overall job satisfaction and performance. This, in turn, can make your workday less stressful and more enjoyable, helping to stave off feelings of burnout.

Remember, managing burnout isn't just about taking care of your mental and physical health—it's also about making choices that empower you in your daily work environment. With Medelita, you're equipped to face each day with confidence, dressed not just for success but for lasting career satisfaction and well-being.