7 Ways to Take Back Control of Your Life as a Physician

The life of a physician is hectic, to say the least. Especially in the last couple of years with COVID running amuck, physicians are feeling a lot of pressure.

In fact, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, 61% of physicians reported burnout this year.

If you’re feeling this lack of control in your life as a physician, there are things that you can do to get things back under wrap. This article will lay them out for you.

1. Set Boundaries


Physicians take on a lot of responsibilities. They are responsible for the health of each of their patients.

Aside from their work life, some physicians come home to even more responsibilities, such as being a spouse or parent. They also have to care for their home, the vehicles, and any other belongings they may have.

With such a full plate, it is important for physicians to set good boundaries around the little free time they do have.

Learn to say no. Don’t be afraid to keep some things sacred. As full as your schedule may be, if you can have just one thing that no one can take away, you’ll feel much more in control.

2. Find a Position That Matches Your Needs

There are many different employment models for physicians. Some may be completely wrong for your life, others might be perfect. The trick is to find the right one.

How will you know which position will be best for you?

A little research can help you to determine if you would be best working in a hospital setting, private practice, or some academic position.

It can also be helpful to determine whether your potential employer will be the right fit, as well. The AMA shares some ways to evaluate a prospective employer with this quick read.

3. Always Have a Backup Plan


One thing is always certain, you can never be certain of everything. That’s why it’s smart to always have a plan B.

As a physician, you need to be prepared for disaster. For many physicians, this pandemic not only brought a severe cut in income but some even contracted the virus themselves.

Would you have a backup for this type of tragedy? If you were ever injured or disabled and unable to work, how would you provide for your family?

Physicians Thrive always recommends that their clients invest in a comprehensive disability insurance policy for situations just like this.

You will most certainly feel more in control when you know you have something in place to protect you no matter what.

4. Manage Your Time Wisely


Physicians, like anyone else, need to stay organized in order to stay in control. Without good time management, there is no organization.

Every hour of the day is precious. Make sure you make the best use of it.

A physician who plans his days and how he uses them will be able to keep his life more organized.

It may be helpful for a physician to take a few minutes each day when he arrives at his practice to reassess his coming appointments and prepare even better.

Learn effective time management here.

5. Get Regular Exercise


When you feel like you are a passenger on the crazy train, one of the best ways to keep your senses is to take some time to fit in a good workout.

Exercise helps to clear the mind and also helps provide you with a strong and energetic body to crush your full schedule like a rockstar.

The last thing you need when you are feeling loaded down with responsibilities is the inability to care for those responsibilities due to a lack of energy.

Regular movement throughout the day will also help you to stay level-headed during a long stressful day.

Make sure you at least stretch or take a light stroll a few times a day to stay alert and focused.

6. Connect With Peers

Many physicians feel like their family and friends don’t quite understand the pressure and stress that they face each day. They also have little to offer in the way of how to better position themselves to lessen this negativity.

This is why it can be especially helpful for a physician to spend time with other physicians outside of work. They can share some tips and tricks that they learned to solve many problems that physicians share.

Set a day and time in your schedule that includes some socialization with other doctors to unwind and decompress.

Even if you don’t gain some valuable insight from these peers, just having another individual who understands the difficulties of the profession can help you feel like you are not alone.

7. Reassess and Reset


As a physician, you are never stale. Your life and your profession evolves. So, too, should your schedule and strategies of life.

Never fail to take time periodically to reassess your life. Even if things have been good for a while, if you start to feel like you are losing control, stop and reassess.

Identify any new sources of stress and find a solution to combat these. It could simply be that you need to hire a new staff member or drop a responsibility to care for a new priority.

Even age can change your purpose. When you first began your practice, no doubt you had more energy and vitality. If years have passed and you can’t seem to keep up with the workload, it’s time for a change.

Increase your rates and lower your hours. You’ve earned this ability through experience. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you deserve.


There is no sense in being a physician if you can’t keep your life in order. With so many people depending on you and your expertise, it’s too risky to just wing it.

A physician should live a life of purpose and focus. If you feel your control starting to slip, try implementing these five strategies.

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