You may think you understand the ins and outs of wellbeing after all your years of study, and indeed you do, but many GPs still find it difficult to pay as much attention to their own wellbeing than they do for their patients! Supporting your own physical and mental health is just as important as supporting your patients’ and your colleagues’. Healthcare is a naturally demanding role, so taking the time to lay the foundations for supporting your wellbeing from the beginning of you career will help you create healthy habits that will reduce the likelihood of burnout further down the line.
Stress, anxiety and burnout are common mental health challenges that doctors and medical professionals face, but there are many support outlets available to you should you feel overwhelmed at any point. It is important to remember that you are not alone, and doctors are just as entitled to healthcare support as any of their patients.
A great hub for mental health support and information can be found on the NHS site here.
What are the signs of stress and burnout for GPs?
Stress and burnout can happen at any stage in a doctor’s career, you may have just started out and found the pace of healthcare to be far faster and demanding than you were expecting, or have years of working at full pelt leading you to feelings of stress, anxiety, being overwhelmed, or burnt out.
Some of the warning signs you should be on the lookout for in yourself include:
- Feelings of exhaustion or fatigue
- Anxiety over your work performance
- Feelings of irritability
- A lack of motivation even for simple tasks
- A shorter fuse to cope with your professional and personal tasks
- Difficulty concentrating
Key Medical Services’ wellbeing tips for new doctors
As you already know, in an ideal world prevention is the best cure for supporting wellbeing. We’ve pulled together some helpful tips you can implement that will support your wellbeing before a problem occurs, and some practical measures to take if they do.
- Look after yourself physically
Ensuring you get enough sleep, take regular breaks away from screens, get regular exercise, stay hydrated, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, wear comfortable shoes, etc., may seem like a far cry from supporting your mental wellbeing, but keeping your physical health in balance can significantly improve how you cope with stress and anxiety.
- Recognise the signs
Staying vigilant for the tell-tale signs of stress and burnout will help you put the right measures in place to curtail them before they get out of hand. If you’re starting to notice you’re getting irritable and have lost motivation on tasks, it could be a warning sign to start taking control of your work schedule, cutback or look to get support to help you.
Regularly checking in with yourself to assess your work performance and your feelings will give you a good indication of what your baseline ‘ok’ is, and what stress and burnout look like.
- Speak up
You never have to suffer in silence. You are part of a team all working towards the same end goal; helping people – and that includes each other.
Speaking up and asserting your limits will help your team understand where more support is required and give them ample time to make arrangements rather than let it get too far and cause additional stress and anxiety or even impact patient care.
- Slow down
To anyone working in healthcare, the idea of slowing down within your role seems impossible, but it’s vital to your wellbeing. Taking the time to assess the full requirements of your tasks, schedule and responsibilities will allow you to properly manage your time without trying to achieve too much. Trying to do too much in a short space of time naturally leads to mistakes or oversights which will create additional stress or anxiety for you.
- Seek support
Help is available in a variety of formats, you just have to ask. From support groups, to CBT and internal services, your mental health and wellbeing are a priority for the organisation you work for and should have a support outlet for you to use.
Source your next GP position with Key Medical Services
Stress and anxiety in general practice are part of your day-to-day life as a doctor, let us take the stress out of sourcing your roles! Our team of specialist consultants would be happy to get to know your goals, get your compliance levels up to 100%, and help source the best opportunities that suit you.