It is advisable for everyone to read often and read widely just for fun – outside of your medical practice. Maintain and keeping an active interest in the world around you outside of your patients, and day-to-day workload will help to exercise your brain and improve your mental fitness. Other mental boosts include increasing your levels of vitamin B by eating plenty of wholegrain cereals, leafy greens, and dairy foods. Vitamin B is essential to brain health. Just being a Locum challenges your intellect and memory. So congratulations on taking a rewarding path.
Here are a few suggestions that will assist you in your day-to-day life as a locum and can also act as a defense when faced with challenging or stressful situations that play on your mind:
- Daydream – Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a dream location. Breathe slowly and deeply, in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Let the idea of a comforting environment wrap you in a sensation of peace and tranquility.
- Emphasize positive emotional moments – Make it a point to recall times when you have experienced pleasure, comfort, tenderness, confidence, or other positive emotions.
- Learn ways to cope with negative thoughts – Negative thoughts can be insistent and loud. Learn to interrupt them (E.g.: emphasize positive emotional moments). Don’t try to block them, but don’t let them take over. Try distracting yourself or comforting yourself, if you can’t solve the problem within a few minutes.
- Do one thing at a time – For example, when you are out for a walk or spending time with friends, turn off your cell phone and stop making that mental “to do” list. Take in all the feelings, sights, sounds and smells in your environment.
- Exercise – Regular physical activity improves psychological well-being and can reduce depression and anxiety. Joining an exercise group or a gym can also reduce loneliness since it connects you with a new set of people sharing a common goal.
- Enjoy hobbies – Taking up a hobby brings balance to your life by allowing you to do something you enjoy because you want to do it, free of the pressure of everyday tasks.
- Set personal goals – Goals don’t have to be ambitious. You might decide to finish that book you started three years ago; to take a walk around the block every day; to learn to meditate and focus your mind. Whatever goal you set, reaching it will build confidence and a sense of satisfaction.
- Keep a journal – Expressing yourself after a stressful day can help you gain perspective, release tension and even boost your body’s resistance to illness.
- Share humor – Life often gets too serious, so when you hear or see something that makes you smile or laugh, share it with someone you know. A little humor can go a long way to keeping us mentally fit!
- Treat yourself well – Cook yourself a good meal. Have a bubble bath. Call a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in ages. Sit on a park bench and breathe in the fragrance of flowers and grass. Whatever it is, do it just for you.
As a Locum, you are already in a position of providing a “win-win” service because helping others should make you feel good about yourself. At the same time Locums consistently widen their social network by interacting with new people on a constant basis which provides new learning experiences which in turn can, if leisurely, can bring balance to a locums life.