Physicians tend to work long hours — and must give their best to each patient. So it's not uncommon for them to feel drained at the end of a shift. But just because the work ends doesn't mean the day is done. Instead, the remaining hours can be an opportunity to rejuvenate and recharge. Here, three physicians at Rush University Medical Center share how they make the most of that time so they perform their best on and off the job.
For internist Michele Bailey, DO, heading outdoors and running along the lakeshore is a great stress reliever. "Exercise is my main rejuvenation," she says. "It's a very peaceful time."
That peace could be from the view or the exercise-induced endorphins — chemicals produced by the body that promote relaxation. Either way, Bailey's typical four- to five-mile run does the trick.
In winter, she finds time to run on a treadmill at a gym near her home. And throughout the year, she balances her runs with yoga and Pilates two to three times a week.
"I make exercise a part of every day," she says. "It keeps me going."
Home is where the heart is
Andrea Madrigrano, MD, gets up at 4:45 a.m. every workday and spends 10 hours at her job as a breast cancer surgeon. When she's done for the day, she begins an essential transformation on the drive home. "I turn on the radio and let go of my day," she says. "When I walk in the door of my home, I'm a mom, not a doctor."
For Madrigrano, family is key to restoring energy, with her baby daughter, Alexis, at the center. "We play together or just sit and read," Madrigrano says. "That's my biggest rejuvenation, even though it's just at home."
When Madrigrano and her husband do leave home, they often take Alexis to the park. That's quite a switch from their lives before parenthood, when they enjoyed traveling and dining out.
Now they may get away for a round of golf or a swim. But for both of them, family time tops the list for replenishing their energy. "When we're not working, we like to be at home," Madrigrano says.
Recipe for rejuvenation
After 12 hours at work, Lorenzo Muñoz, MD, a neurosurgeon, goes home and happily dives into his chaotic life as the father of five boys. Then he begins the enduring routine that sustains and refreshes him: cooking and dining with his wife. "We both love to cook," Muñoz says. "I get totally immersed in it."
For Muñoz, preparing food has a soothing rhythm and precision. "It's almost like a meditation," he says.
Muñoz and his wife have taken cooking classes, and they favor a wide variety of cuisines, including Indian, Puerto Rican and Greek. Every dinner is planned, and each is accompanied by wine and relaxing conversation.
For Muñoz, spending time with his family and cooking with his wife are the perfect ways to re-energize. "I love it," he says. "My family is the light of my life."
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