During my usual 2 weeks off over the holidays I did my usual stuff – taxes, read journals, do CME, review legal cases that have come in, hang out with my family, nap with my dogs.
Somewhere in that stretch of time off. I run out of things to do, and that’s when I have to confront an odd truth: I’ve forgotten how to relax.
In medical school and residency I certainly could enjoy the rare weekend time off. I’d watch sports, go running, do things with friends.
But now it’s a different world. My friends, while still people I enjoy, are on the other end of a computer, far away. My interest in sports and movies waned years ago, and I avoid televisions as part of my aversion to the news. Even the books I used to enjoy, such as the late Clive Cussler’s, don’t hold my attention anymore. If I’m going to read anything it’s going to be humor, because the medical field is serious enough as it is.
The bottom line is that it’s hard for me to relax and “do nothing” anymore. I don’t know if that’s just me, or if it’s part of the personality of being a doctor, or both.
If I’m not at my desk working, I feel like I’m not doing anything. Do other doctors feel that way?
Is this a bad thing?
It probably is, and I should look to the beginning of a new year to make some changes. Maybe I should go back to running (or, at this point in my life, walking) or finding some humor books I enjoy and reading them. The old standby of going on a vacation is kind of limited right now.
I’ve been an attending physician for 24 years now, which is still hard to believe. My retirement isn’t (hopefully) anytime soon, but is coming up faster than it seems. If I don’t relearn to relax by then, when will I?
Dr. Block has a solo neurology practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.