So you’ve got this far and you are on your way to being what most people hail as a… super-hero!
Giving everyone advice on how to stay healthy often means some doctors neglect their own health due to stress, lack of time, lethargy and unusual hours.
Here are some simple tips to help you get ahead:
1) Make sure you look after yourself, above all else. If you are alert and well, you are in a much better place to treat your patients. Get prepared so that you can easily get your hands on healthy food with plenty of essential nutrients and proteins. Get plenty of rest too!
2) Get organised for breakfast! Consider buying yourself a load of zip lock bags with a mix of fruit and veggies ready to blend into a smoothie so if you REALLY cannot be bothered to eat in the morning or after a night shift – you can drink your food and make sure you keep that immune system tip top.
3) Be prepared for late nights: Batch cook every time you can be bothered to cook – cook enough for 4 more on the nights you do have time to cook and freeze in individual portions so that you can take it with you or eat quickly when you get in. Cooking from scratch is hardly any more difficult when cooking 3 or 4 times the amount, so do it – you’ll be so thankful later and so will your bank account!
4) Say goodbye to the energy drinks. The quick sugar fix will only give you 30-60 minutes of alertness and are full of sugar – after that, you are going to crash and burn, have a banana (or two!) instead, the fix lasts longer and you won’t have a sugar crash and sleepy feeling half an hour later.
5) Stay hydrated at all times, get yourself a water bottle (BPA free) and ensure you are drinking at least 2 litres a day – it will help you stay focussed and feeling awake.
6) Ditch the Caffeine – it’s another crash and burn substance. Stick to water, fruit teas or smoothies. Once you get in the habit of drinking milky sugary Caffeine you will find it hard to quit.
7) Get to know the staff on a personal level. The friendlier and more helpful you are, the more help you will get without even asking. Just because you are above someone in the ranks, doesn’t mean you know more than them. Have their back too. Teamwork is the most important aspect of working in a hospital.
8) Get good at breaking bad news – it’s the toughest part of the job so make sure you know how to say it best: Here’s some help…
9) Always be willing to listen – even if you disagree, some people may have the experiences that you don’t, so try to be modest and understanding. Your training will take you so far but after that, the people around you will teach you so much more than anything else could.
10) Be careful not to take on too many emotional commitments. Your health relies on your emotional well-being so although it’s important so have empathy and understanding remember that not every patient is your responsibility. At the same time, empathy is a massive comfort to patients and families of the patient so get the balance right. Talk about things that upset you with a friend or loved one and try not to let things build up. Use your councellor or keep a thought-diary to check your own mental health regularly.
11) Remember – every day is a new day and a new set of problems – but try to see every day as a new challenge and that every day you are better than you were yesterday. A positive mindset is great for you, your peers and your patients.
12) Ask for help! Never struggle or guess, take notes at every opportunity and read them back at the end of the day – even if this is the pin number for the medicine cabinet or the map of the hospital! Knowledge is power.
13) Have faith in yourself – You are qualified, no, you don’t know everything, but you have a fresh outlook and perspective that others will feed from. Keep that freshness in every aspect of your day.
14) Well, we wouldn’t end it on 13 would we! So our final point is. Have a social life! It might seem hard sometimes to have one – with all the hours and random shifts, but do try to have a social life, it’s so important to have a break from your daily routine and mix with people who are not all in the health sector. Talk about other things, get a sense of normality, eat out, party, go to the cinema, go on dates. You need a healthy work/life balance to be happy. So make an effort to see loved ones, friends and family whenever possible.