A lot of us have certain preconceptions when it comes to doctors and other medical professionals. We tend to think that most of them — if not all — are rich, competitive, selfish, confident, and healthy, among others.
Most doctors would be the first ones to deny all of these misconceptions and claim that they are anything but. One of the most prevalent thoughts that people have about doctors is that they seem to have no life in them, that their lives only revolve around work. All work. No fun.
And surprisingly, a lot of doctors will attest to this. For a lot of them, it is easy to fall into the vicious cycle of sleep-work-repeat.
For this reason, professors usually tell students in medical school to find a hobby and other stuff to do outside of medicine. Even residents tell med students to maintain their hobbies to help them preserve that sense of balance between work and life.
Why are hobbies important for healthcare professionals?
To a healthcare professional — physician, surgeon, pediatric dentist, medical technologist, and others — maintaining hobbies give them several benefits that they need for the industry they’re in.
It gives them something their patients can relate to.
For patients and regular people, most physicians and specialists seem too sophisticated that not many people can relate to them. There seems to be an invisible line dividing most of them from most of us — not necessarily in a bad way, of course.
Getting involved in a hobby and maintaining that involvement somehow dispels that wrong preconception. It shows that they are normal people that have the same normal interests as most of us do.
To a patient, finding out that your specialist is interested in the same things you are such as fishing, hiking, collecting, woodworking, and other hobbies make them appear more human to us. It breaks down certain walls that make them seem distant and impersonal. Sometimes, the hobbies they engage in can result in good friendships with their patients and their families.
It keeps their lives balanced and grounded.
One of the saddest realities in life is that a lot of doctors, specialists, and medical professionals find it hard to have the time for themselves. Between the demands of work and family, they are left with very little to no time to engage in other pursuits.
They end up in a vicious cycle that causes far too many doctors to get burned out. They need something that will help them refocus and hobbies are one of the best ways to meet that need.
Some who find time to do stuff that is not related to work get to enjoy settings outside the medical world. There are plenty of doctors who enjoy geeky stuff such as comic books, movies, and toys. And most of them are not involved in pediatrics. They welcome the change of atmosphere their hobbies bring. It takes them back to their childhood where they had no cares and no worries. All that mattered was geeking out.
This, they say, helps keep them grounded and humble. It refreshes them to see the world from a child’s perspective which makes them want to all the more excel at their job which is to genuinely serve people.
It is important for self-care.
Lastly, hobbies are helpful in keeping a person mentally and emotionally healthy. This is not just for doctors but for everyone. And while doctors are the first ones that will tell you the importance of self-care, they also need to be on the receiving end of it as well.
For this reason, a lot of physicians go out of their way to find time in their busy schedules to engage in their hobbies. These people know the importance of hobbies to self-care which is why it is one of their priorities. Of course, when duty calls, they have to show up but on a regular day, they set aside time for themselves.
Some of them take up a few rounds of racquetball or tennis. Others get some reading done, and no, they don’t read journals but literature, fiction, and other non-work-related materials. Some take to writing creatively. Others take up yoga or practice meditation.
Sometimes, the hobbies they engage in also add value to them as professionals, especially if they’re very much into reading and writing. But often, they just do what they’re interested in to help keep them sane given the erratic work environment they’re in.
As you can see, even the ones who take care of our medical needs need to take care of themselves, too. And by engaging in stuff that they’re interested in — their hobbies — they lower the stress levels brought about by their profession and avoid getting burned out. And we need them in great physical, mental, and emotional condition so that they can perform their duties well.