When was the last time you took a good vacation? Has it been months? Years? A decade or more? You wouldn’t be alone.
According to an article from Medscape, over a third of family physicians and almost as many emergency medicine physicians, internists and general surgeons take off two weeks per year at most.
Planning time away from your practice and daily grind are key to preventing burnout. A study conducted in 2010 found some interesting things about vacationing. Here are a few things you may not have known about taking a vacation.
- Anticipating a vacation can be as rewarding as actually taking a vacation. Vacationers are generally happier than non-vacationers, but post-vacation happiness was similar among both groups. That could mean that planning and then looking forward to a vacation may be more beneficial to your stress levels than the vacation itself.
- Quantity over quality. Given that post-vacation happiness levels are similar between vacationers and non-vacationers, the length of the trip you take may matter less than you think. Consider taking a handful of shorter vacations throughout the year as opposed to one or two long vacations to maximize the “pre-trip happiness.”
- You may not be relaxed unless you’re truly relaxed. Vacations generally don’t add much to your happiness, post-trip. Only those who take “very relaxed” holiday trips benefit most in terms of post-trip happiness. When you decide to take your vacation, truly leave work at work. To gain the maximum benefit, focus on the vacation and getting the most enjoyment and relaxation out of your activities before you return to work.
As a doctor, it can be tough to schedule time away. You’re busy, you have patients to see and you may have a practice to run.
To remain happy in your career and prevent burnout that can be very common among doctors, make it a priority to take some time out for yourself and your family throughout the year. You’ll thank yourself down the road.