Drop the stressful cheer this Holiday Season

The movie version of the holidays involves sitting by a cozy fireplace with a festive cocktail and enjoying quality time with the family. But it’s a completely different time of year for physicians.

For us, the holidays mean feeling stressed out to no end and being isolated from our loved ones due to work. We’re worried about all the normal holiday things – buying presents, visiting in-laws (or not visiting this year), hoping our kids don’t ask questions about Santa…and on top of that, there’s an influx of patients in hospitals and offices. 

As physicians, we’re expected to step it up during the holidays every year. But 2020 is different. We’ve already been stepping up this whole damn year. 

This heavy stress and pressure may often lead to physician suicide. A constant, growing problem within our industry. Help is available! [800-273-8255 or connect with a physician peer, we are here to help!]

These rates become even more frightening with our current health climate.

Working full-time and managing the stress as a physician during the holidays is incredibly difficult. The overall disconnect makes us feel hopeless and like we are missing out on happy moments with our families. 

So if you’re loathing the end of the year. Here’s a tip: Drop the “should’s” and “suppose to’s”

Instead of moving the festivities to your day off so you can fit it all in, celebrate differently this year. For instance, instead of killing myself cooking a traditional thanksgiving dinner that my kids won’t eat half of, we are making hamburgers and hot dogs.

Instead of coordinating the time schedule, matching outfits and all the gifts, drop the “I should do this…” and just do what you want or have the capacity to do WITHOUT killing yourself. Your kid wants a youtube channel for christmas (like mine), hire someone else to figure the tech stuff out. Your other kid loves playing with masking tape and being creative, buy 12 different colors on Amazon for eight bucks and call it a win.

Instead of pouring yourself out this holiday, try filling yourself. Remember, NO is a complete sentence and an immediate time saver. 

Being a doctor doesn’t have to be all about sacrifice. Prioritize your needs. If that means celebrating, do it at a time and in a way that puts you in the spirit. And remember, you don’t have to go through the motion of celebrating at all. No shoulds…it’s all what you intentionally choose.If things are getting really bad, please recognize that things can change. You are capable of making big decisions and ultimately you’re the only one who can answer the question: What do you want your holidays to look like?

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