Battling Burnout: Why You Need a Vacation from Your Office

Physician's Money Digest, June 2007, Volume 14, Issue 6

Would you drive your car for365 days straight withoutstopping to fill up the gastank or let the engine cool off? Ofcourse not, because if you did, your carwould break down.

The same thing can happen to you ifyou work hard at your practice withouttaking a break. Why is taking avacation so vital for your health andthe success of your practice? Considerthe following:

•The office environment exhaustsyour mental health. Your mind canonly handle so much informationbefore it gets overstimulated. Once thishappens, you're more likely to makemistakes, snap at patients or colleagues,and have trouble makingsmart decisions. A vacation from theoffice helps your mind recharge itselfand keeps you at the top of your game.

•The office environment depletesyour physical health. Fluorescent officelighting and stale air sap your energystores. Sitting all day slows downdigestion and speeds up weight gain. Avacation gives your body a chance tomove and breathe much-needed freshair. This, in turn, helps you be ahealthy role model for your patients.How to fit a much needed vacationinto your busy schedule:

•If you've got a weekend: Retreatto a mountain cabin for hiking andfireside naps. Head to the beach forsurfing and seashell gathering. Browsein a whisper-quiet bookstore or colorfulfarmer's market. Wherever you go,leave your pager and laptop at home soyou can fully disconnect from the office.

•If you've got an afternoon:Enjoy pampering sessions at a localspa, then go out for a healthy dinner.Head to the driving range or basketballcourts and sweat out your stressbefore heading to the steam room.

•If you've got 5 minutes: Getoutside for a quick walk while listeningto your favorite song on your iPod. Sipa cup of tea under a tree and read a fewpages from your favorite book. Sometimes5 minutes is all you need.

Christi Lehner-Collinsis a certified holistichealth counselor based in Boston, Massachusetts.She specializes in helping busyprofessionals all over the world practicestress-free healthy eating and guilt-freeself-care. She welcomes questions or comments atchristi@bostonhealthcoach.com. For more information andfree resources, visit www.bostonhealthcoach.com.