Time constraints, work demands undermine physicians' self-care, survey finds

While most physicians believe self-care is important, many are unable to practice the amount of self-care they desire due to a lack of time and growing job demands, according to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey on behalf of the Samueli Foundation's integrative health programs. The foundation supports personal health and well-being initiatives. The survey polled 304 physicians specializing in internal medicine or family practice between May 23 and June 19.

Four survey findings:

1. Eighty percent of physicians say practicing self-care is "very important" to them personally, but only 57 percent practice it "often."

2. Physicians reported that barriers to self-care include:

• Lack of time (72 percent)
• Mounting job demands (59 percent)
• Family demands (45 percent)
• Burnout (25 percent)
• Guilt (20 percent)

3. A vast majority of the physicians (98 percent) believe self-care positively affects mental health, and most (96 percent) agree that self-care should be considered an essential part of overall health.

4. Common self-care practices among physicians include:

• Exercise (83 percent)
• Eating healthy foods (81 percent)
• Maintaining healthy relationships (77 percent)
• Working on personal development (76 percent)
• Engaging in stress relief activities like reading or meditating (70 percent)
• Getting enough sleep (70 percent)

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