Washington D.C.: While they do promote the idea of health and overall well-being, physicians tend to overlook their own self-care.
According to a recent study, despite believing that self-care is a vitally important part of health and overall well-being, many physicians overlook their own self-care.
Doctors seem to understand the physical as well as the mental, emotional and social value of engaging in self-care, and that's encouraging because we are in a powerful position to help promote self-care among our patients. But when it comes to their own self-care, many physicians are falling short, which perhaps is one reason for the clinician burnout crisis, researchers point out.
According to the study, lack of time is the primary reason physicians say they aren't able to practice their desired amount of self-care (72%). Other barriers include mounting job demands (59%) and burnout (25%). Additionally, almost half of physicians (45%) say family demands interfere with their ability to practice self-care, and 20 per cent say they feel guilty taking time for themselves.
"Physicians are under an exorbitant amount of stress. The way that our health system is set up requires physicians to spend more time on administrative duties and less time with patients and themselves. This mounting pressure on physicians will only get worse. We need to fix the system to allow physicians breathing room to care for themselves as much as they care for their patients," researchers asserted.
However, nearly all physicians (98%) believe self-care positively impacts mental health and 97 per cent believe it has a positive impact on physical health. Further, about 9 in 10 physicians (96%) agree that self-care should be considered an essential part of overall health.
When physicians do engage in self-care, 87 per cent say it is to maintain or improve their physical health, 83 per cent to reduce stress and 82 per cent to maintain or improve their mental health.
Common self-care practices among physicians include exercise (83%), eating healthy foods (81%), maintaining healthy relationships (77%), working on personal development (76%), engaging in stress relief activities like reading or meditating (70%) and getting enough sleep (70%).