Going into your intern year, you certainly know you’re in for long days (and nights… and overnights… ) with very little time to yourself. The key to making the most of your precious free time? Planning. Meticulous, think-ahead, strict and careful planning.
It may sound counterintuitive, but you’re going to have to become adept at planning relaxation and self-care well in advance. Sound silly? It’s not. If you don’t think ahead, your precious days off will come and go in an unfulfilling haze.
Do you have friends you absolutely want to see this year? Nail down their availability, make dates (no matter how far in advance), and put them in the calendar. Want to spend a whole day catching up on your favorite show? Sounds great–book a huge block as “busy” and give yourself permission to laze around all day. Do you need to see a handful of doctors for annual exams? Call their offices, make appointments now, and get them down in your planner.
Careful organization of your limited days off–even for the fun stuff–will help you soak of every bit of your limited free time and will make you a better doctor. In order to have the mental and physical capability to care for your patients, it’s vital to take care of yourself in mind, body, and spirit.