Most of us are working for our weekends.
We can run a treadmill for five or more days of the week and long for our brief weekends and distant holidays. I think weekends and holidays are great for spending extended time with the people you love.
Yet we shouldn’t wait that long to find balance and rest in our lives. To prevent the cumulative effects of unremitting stress, we need to balance each day. We can’t wait for the weekends.
We need our morning recess, lunch and mid-afternoon breaks. It doesn’t have to be a game of tetherball or a full-scale walkout. A change of tasks, a healthy snack, your favourite music or a stretching break may suffice.
Our bodies are machines that need fuel throughout the day. We don’t have big tanks that we can fill with one big meal. To keep our bodies and minds running smoothly, we need daily exercise (at least a good walk) and regular healthy meals.
Attend to the pace of your thoughts – with the goal of being fully present in every waking moment. I encourage medical students to be mindful with each patient encounter so that we may be totally focused on the needs of the patient before us. I teach them to view hand washing as a mindful ritual; in this transition between patients, we ensure that we have been complete and thorough with the patient we have just seen and fully awake for the next.
This makes us more empathic listeners, better diagnosticians and safer health care providers.
How is the pace of your day? How present are you in the moments that make up your life?