While we call them beacons of hope, heroes of life, doctors often face extensive job pressures and long hours of duty, leaving them burnt out and with physical and emotional problems. Thus it is imperative to set clear boundaries to maintain a perfect work-life balance, health experts said on Monday on National Doctors Day. 

National Doctors Day is celebrated on July 1 every year to appreciate the efforts of doctors, as well as to raise issues about them.

“In many professions including the medical profession, it is easier for the work pressure to crawl in the personal time leading to easy and early burnout. Doctors should understand this and try to set clear boundaries between work life and personal hours,” shares Dr Meenakshi Jain, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad.

Jain said that given the strenuous work hours, requirement of high cognitive performance and often changing schedules, doctors should also try to take breaks if possible and have better communication with team members to improve work efficiency without extra stress. Set healthy boundaries.

“As doctors, we are so preoccupied with patients` health that we tend to often neglect ourselves. Long and erratic work schedules and the enormity of taking responsibility for the lives of others are taxing. We should prioritise our health first,” informs Dr Tushar Tayal, Lead Consultant, Department of Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram.

Citing that work-life balance is essential, the experts suggested a healthy and regular sleep-wake cycle is paramount.

For good physical and mental health, the experts advised maintaining a regular schedule, avoiding skipping meals, exercising or brisk walking for 30 min daily, and developing some hobbies, among others.

Dr Meenakshi also emphasised the importance of the emotional wellness of doctors.

“Medical professionals touch the lives of so many people and inadvertently burden themselves with negative memories. Emotional expression thus is essential to build resilience and maintain well-being,” the experts said.

Besides Yoga and meditation, the doctors must communicate with team members, join a peer support group, and must not hesitate to utilise psychological services, if necessary.

“Doctors often underestimate their symptoms and many times do not reach out for help during work pressure and other reasons. Getting regular physical and mental health checkups is essential for all medical professionals,” Dr Meenakshi said.

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