Dermatologists, once considered generally immune to burnout, are seeing a sharp increase in occupational fatigue and we're offering some ideas for this Labor Day Weekend to help regain that strong work-life balance.
Dermatologists have consistently enjoyed a rank of last or near last among medical specialties in regard to burnout. But a recent study1 by researchers at the Mayo Clinic and American Medical Association suggests that something has changed and dermatologists might not be as immune to burnout as they used to be. According to the study’s author, Tait Shanafelt, M.D., between 2011 and 2014, dermatologists had the largest increase in burnout of any specialty (from 32% to 57%), and they dropped from the second most favorable score to seventh in satisfaction with work-life balance.
Doctors, you need a day off! This Labor Day, take the time to recharge. We’ve listed several ideas to help you clear your mind before you go back to the office on Tuesday.
The benefits2 of being outside have been well documented. Research3 has shown that being outdoors can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. And, outdoor exercise has numerous benefits4, including increasing lifespan, improving mood and reducing risk of some diseases. Of course remember to put on the sunscreen!
For some, a day without a cell phone is impossible. Even the very notion is inconceivable. But is it really a vacation when you’re still checking emails every 15 minutes? Research5 has found that over reliance on phones reduces attention span and taking a break can help your mind refocus. Power off your screens this Labor Day.
Take a Staycation /Long weekend vacation
A great vacation doesn’t have to be halfway around the world. A quick escape to the country or a quiet day exploring your own town may be all you need to reinvigorate before you jump back into the week.
Sleep plays an important role in your mental and physical health. With long days of back-to-back patient cases, administrative obligations, and difficult patients with difficult diagnoses, it’s easy to get off your regular sleep schedule. Sleep deprivation6 can affect your focus, learning ability and more. With a three-day weekend, getting back on track shouldn’t be too hard.
You know that book that’s been sitting on your shelf for months that you never got around to reading? Now’s the perfect chance to start it. And no, medical journals don’t count. Benefits7 of reading include greater empathy, easier social interaction, higher levels of creativity, and more.
It can be tough to see your friends and family as much as you’d like with the busy schedule that doctors have. Fortunately, most people are off on Labor Day, so you have the perfect opportunity to get together with them. Besides the boost in happiness that interaction with friends provides, research shows the “friend effect”8 can also improve your immune system, reduce stress, and even improve your life expectancy.
Always wanted to learn how to paint? Or maybe try that recipe you’ve had in your pantry for years? Besides reducing stress, a recent study9 concluded that hobbies can lower blood pressure, body mass index, and more. Additional research10 shows leisure time activities can reduce persistent fatigue. There are usually all kinds of weekend classes you can sign up for and who knows, maybe you’ll discover your new favorite stress-relieving hobby.
Volunteer work has many benefits11 and might help make your three-day weekend feel a little more rewarding and give you an energizing boost come Tuesday. Soup kitchens, food pantries, animal welfare groups, children’s groups, and many more are always looking for help.
1 Hilton, L. (2016, February 5). Why burnout is increasing among U.S. dermatologists. Retrieved September 01, 2016
2 Coon, J. T., Boddy, K., Stein, K., Whear, R., Barton, J., & Depledge, M. H. (2011). Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review. Environmental Science & Technology Environ. Sci. Technol., 45(5), 1761-1772. doi:10.1021/es102947t
3 Gladwell, V. F., Brown, D. K., Wood, C., Sandercock, G. R., & Barton, J. L. (2013). The great outdoors: How a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extrem Physiol Med Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 2(1), 3. doi:10.1186/2046-7648-2-3
4 Physical Activity and Health. (2015). Retrieved September 01, 2016
5 Rosen, L. (n.d.). The Amazing Power of "Tech Breaks" Retrieved September 01, 2016
6 Sleep, Learning, and Memory. (n.d.). Retrieved September 01, 2016
7 Billington, J. (n.d.). The Untold Power of the Book. Retrieved September 1, 2016
8 Blue, L. (2010, July 28). Recipe for Longevity: No Smoking, Lots of Friends. Retrieved September 01, 2016
9 Pressman, S. D., Matthews, K. A., Cohen, S., Martire, L. M., Scheier, M., Baum, A., & Schulz, R. (2009). Association of Enjoyable Leisure Activities With Psychological and Physical Well-Being. Psychosomatic Medicine, 71(7), 725-732. doi:10.1097/psy.0b013e3181ad7978
10 Eriksen, W. (2004). Do physical leisure time activities prevent fatigue? A 15 month prospective study of nurses' aides. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 38(3), 331-336. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2002.004390
11 Benefits of Volunteering. (n.d.). Retrieved September 01, 2016