Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Seven days; Seven vacations: Fighting the grinch and burnout 5 minutes at a time!
In the post How do I use positive psychology? I introduced the idea of a daily vacation to start fighting back against physician burnout. A daily break focusing for 5-10 minutes on something you really enjoy can have a positive on your entire day and fend off burnout.
In the post How in the world do you take a daily vacation? I found information on how to plan a daily vacation and ideas for daily vacations! Since I like to practice what I preach, I spent one week (my first week of blogging) doing a daily vacation!
So what did my week of vacations consist of?
“A vacation a day keeps burnout away!” - The Positive Physician
Day 1 - Coffee by the fire
First attempt at a daily vacation was a simple evening on the patio. The kids were asleep so it was time to make a cup of coffee. After smelling the coffee, I made my way outside and cranked up the fire pit and sat next too it. My wife joined me after a few minutes and we relaxed and took in a mix of the chilly air and the warmth from the fire. It was nice. We had not enjoyed the fire pit for quite awhile. It was a nice break from the daily doctor and parent grind.
Day 2 - Morning ruck
I love to run. I am not fast and I am not always consistent with it but I do love it. My second vacation was a variation of running called rucking. It is walking/jogging around with a large back pack on. I picked this as my second vacation because it was early in the morning, before 0600, and it was in a new place to explore. I took in the flickering lights of the airfield to my right as I trudged along in the cold. My breath was visible this morning and my legs were burning from the weight of the pack but it was calming. I was working hard while letting my mind focus on the surroundings. A good start to the day.
Day 3 - The perfect round of golf
I grew up playing golf on a small nine hole course in West Virginia. I know this course like the back of my hand, each green, sand trap, and even the power lines that cross part of it.
I love golf but sometimes it can be a little frustrating if you know what I mean. This vacation was a mental exercise, I pictured what the best round of golf I could possibly play on that old little course. I worked my way through each practice swing, each shot, each putt, and each hole playing a perfect round. It felt awesome to make my way around that little course hitting all the shots I had ever wanted too. The least frustrating round of golf ever! I felt awesome going to bed that night.
Day 4 - Bath time
I went with old faithful at the halfway point. I ran a hot bath and may or may not have stolen my wife's frizzy bubbly vanilla bath boom (hey, don't knock it til you try it). I let the warmth soak into my sore muscles (see vacation day 2) and enjoyed the jets on the bottom of my feet. Relaxed, recharged, ready for tomorrow!
Day 5 - Guided meditation
I have never really tried to meditate in the past. It seemed like a good idea for a nice relaxing daily vacation. Since, I had little clue how to do this I asked "is there an app for that?" There are several. I gave Headspace a try. I was able to pick a basic meditation that lasted 5 minutes and I was guided through the process. Not going to lie, it was nice. I will do this again. They even have 3 minute meditations that I might try to fit in during particularly terrible clinic days.
Day 6 - Puppy love
I have an eight year old red healer/shepherd mix who admittedly does not get as much attention as he deserves. With little kids running around the house, Jax often gets lost in the mix. I spent some time petting him last night. We both needed it.
Day 7 - Savoring the Christmas tree
May last vacation of the week, I took a few minutes to sit by this years Christmas tree. I took in the smell of the tree, the detail of the ornaments, how the ribbons twisted and draped down the tree, and memories behind some of the ornaments. I felt #grateful and relaxed. I felt very fortunate. I imagined the kids excitement as they will open their presents and the hours they will spend exploring with their toys. I am blessed.
There it is! Seven days and seven vacations. I feel great about my daily vacations. They have helped me #savor what is around me. I feel less burned out this week. I felt like I was able to handle clinic better this week. Less Grinch and more Cindy Lou.
What is your next daily vacation going to be?
Live your mission.