Hobbies: A Great Stress Reliever for Physicians

May 7, 2012

Physicians have very stressful lives, so there's the need for other outlets for our energy, whether it is at a shooting range, playing hockey, or learning to play guitar.

Physicians in general have very stressful lives. The very nature of what we do is stressful. Other people are putting their health, their wellbeing, and their lives into our hands.

That’s a lot of pressure. For each patient we are asked to be healer, counselor, and teacher. For those in private practice, we are also employer, human resources manager, and gopher. And, much apparently to the surprise of some of our patients, we are also humans, with children who need shuttling around and who need a college fund, parents who are getting older and need care, and spouses who need a little time and energy.

It is a wonder we don’t all go insane. There was a very controversial article that came out a few years ago about how doctors laugh at their patients. We want to be respectful, of course, but if we don’t see humor in ourselves, in what we see and hear, in the people around us, we truly are doomed to depression and despair.

Aside from finding humor, we need other outlets for our energy. I know one physician who, rumor has it, has a shooting range in his basement. There is another who is part of a jazz band. As a matter of fact, I think all the band members are in the medical field. I know one who plays the kettle drum for an orchestra. There are several who are in a hockey league. There are those who sing, paint, garden, and act. I, myself, have recently taken up the guitar. I am no musician by any means, but a few minutes of "me time," just the guitar, me, and my online instructions, helps me to get away from some of the craziness each day.

Everybody needs an outlet. For some people, it’s the arts. For some, sports. In a field where we expect a lot of ourselves, and where others expect a lot, too, finding healthy ways to escape is one way to keep us going.

Find out more about Melissa Young and our other Practice Notes bloggers.