AAFP’s Resources for Well Being and Physician Wellness – Tips from Your Colleagues

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Your well-being matters. When you care for yourself, you can be more present for your loved ones and colleagues, and stay passionate about your purpose: providing quality patient care.

The AAFP’s Well-being Planner will help you identify your goals and collect Planner resources to address the five primary factors that affect your well-being as a family physician.


How Georgia Academy Members Embrace Wellness – A Few Tips from Your Colleagues


  • When I am feeling burned out, I take some deep breaths, listen to music or do a few Yoga poses.
  • I have always tried to follow the adage from my anatomy professor during my 1st year of medical school: “Work hard, play hard.” (Imagine it said with his refined British accent).
  • The key though, is to SCHEDULE play time so you look forward to it and HAVE to do it. It can be vacation, gardening, theater, parties, sports, dinners out — whatever you love to do.
  • I also have found it critical to “unplug” from technology for several hours — during my crazy business travel days, my favorite part of it all was being “unreachable” through phone, text or email while I was on an airplane for several hours — we need to savor those times
  • I make time each week (even if it is just for an hour to two) to do something I like to do and want to do–not something that I “have to do.”
  • This could be any number of things, like doing yard work (yes, my John Deere is my “happy pill”), pleasure reading (not a medical journal for goodness sakes), watching a movie, spending time with family and/or friends, and fishing or hunting. This one or two hours washes off the stress of the week, and I (and others) can tell a difference when I don’t allow myself this time each week.
  • For me it’s exercise and having goals to train for a 5K race or triathlon.
  • Another way I unwind is to plan a sick day into my week calling it a mental health day and I don’t tell my kids or family I am off, and I stay home hidden away all day doing something that makes me feel less overwhelmed (like organizing a closet)!
  • My way to unwind is to get up before anyone at my home and go for a run! I am up before the sun comes up and it makes dealing with the day a lot easier!
  • I shut it down and play golf
  • Remember that we all can become a patient at anytime
  • We must take time to take care of ourselves the same way we take care of our patients
  • Listen to good music in your office
  • Cut the phones off at lunch and leave the office – even if for a short walk
  • Exercise daily
  • When I feel burned out and can’t travel out of the state, I take a staycation. I get a hotel room for the weekend within the state in a vicinity I haven’t explored before and plan fun activities around there such as a live jazz lounge, local activities, spa or some great restaurants.
  • Whenever the burnout level gets high I just take a couple days off.  Used to take just an afternoon. As the needed break gets longer I will eventually call it retirement.
  • I usually relieve stress with a quick intense workout.  That is usually my quick fix.  For long term stress relief, I usually schedule a quarterly spa day with some friends.  These activities allow me to keep pushing forward.
  • My tip would be to make time for yourself with things you like to do. I like to golf, exercise, hike, go to the beach, and play with my dog.
  • When I am starting to feel burnt out, I plan a weekend trip for the family, and I play! The kids enjoy when mommy uses them as a stress relief.
  • Now I understand that we don’t have much time in this profession to do all of these things, so sometimes I like to make little positive notes and reminders about things I am grateful. That particularly helped during my Step 1 preparations, and during times I needed to work and study while rotation in my third year. These little positive reminders really go a long way because there are times I forget during the stressful times and the hustle of why I started the journey, how I made it, and the little things and those that helped me along the way.
  • For months I added a daily note about positive things that happened throughout the day, things I was proud of, and things I was thankful for, and at the end of the month I went over them and reflected upon them and I believe it really helped me through a particularly tough burnout period in my medical school journey.
  • I pray every night and start with thank you God for this day. I make myself go to the gym and run or do elliptical and sweat!  I take 20 min for yoga for beginners. I play tennis with my 80-year-old dad. I spend 10 minutes listing all of the things I’m grateful for and if all else fails I grab my girlfriends and go drink wine!
  • Every day, in the middle of my shift, I take 15 minutes to myself. Whether it’s to read, take a walk, eat a snack, or just sit in the quiet, it helps to center my outlook away from all the busy-ness and slow down.
  • When I am starting to feel burned out, I find that I must start saying “no” to my colleagues. I try to do these 8 times a week.”
  • Take up a new hobby. For fun I started decorating my house with silk flowers. I was so surprised that this actually relaxes me. My Pastor will not let anyone else decorate the church. Friends and family only want a centerpiece as a gift. Who would of thought?!!!!!