Are you a well-rounded doctor?

Medical students, working physicians and many others in the medical profession are compulsive, often by their very nature. It’s one of the reasons these individuals choose careers in medicine. Your field requires intelligence, focus and discipline.

Yet psychiatrist Maria Yang suggests that well-rounded physicians (and nurses and physician assistants) are better able to connect with their patients and are happier people in their own personal lives. She writes in her blog post:

“If I view myself only as a physician, then a crappy day at work means I will be in a foul mood for the rest of the day. And the only thing that will change that is a “better” day at work….

The importance of having hobbies is to experience growth and success outside of medicine. Maybe a patient said terrible things to me today, but I made a delicious soup from scratch. Maybe one of my patients died, but I was able to write about the loss in a meaningful way. Maybe the system isn’t broken; maybe it was built this way… but I finished a half marathon without stopping to walk.” Read more …

It’s true. People who have a creative hobby outside of work — like photography, gardening or cooking — often experience a boost in their work performance. This isn’t just our opinion; it’s been proven in a number of studies. You can read more about it in this paper: Benefiting from creative activity: The positive relationships between creative activity, recovery experiences, and performance-related outcomes (Eschleman et al., 2014).

Hobbies aren’t just good for job performance. They offer numerous other benefits — meeting new people, reducing stress, building new skills and easing depression, just to name a few.

As a medical professional, you take your job seriously. And your patients are glad you do. But make time for hobbies and other interests outside of work. As a well-rounded practitioner, you show up in the world a healthier and happier person and therefore have more to offer your patients.

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