Dr Donna Matthew: Play hard, work hardDr Donna Matthew tries to make sure her life is balanced including plenty of downtime and opportunities for rest and relaxation. (Sandy Pitt)
By Sherie Holder-Olutayo | Tue, April 12, 2011 - 12:00 AM
FOR DONNA MATTHEW, life as a doctor, though fulfilling, can come with its share of challenges and stress. After all, her decisions help to shape and enhance the lives of people she interacts with daily.
While that may seem like a daunting task, Donna knows that she can only be at the best for her patients when she is functioning at her highest.
While she believes in working hard, Donna also tries to make sure her life is balanced, including plenty of downtime and opportunities for rest and relaxation.
“There is definitely more stress in life today, with deadlines to make and the fact that we’re living in a ‘now’ world,” Donna said. “People tend to want things as soon as possible, and there’s definitely more pressure being placed on you.”
Caring for one’s patients can also bring its own share of stress as some doctors can find themselves becoming emotionally involved in the care of their patients.
“At times it can be difficult because at the end of the day you’re still human, but I try to find other things to focus on,” Donna said. “It’s not always possible because you still have empathy, but I’ve come to realize that I have to separate my work.”
Like any good doctor who prescribes ways for her patients to alleviate stress, Donna makes sure she follows her own advice as well.
“I try to make sure my days are balanced every day. I go to the gym because working out, along with staying healthy, is a good way to de-stress,” she said. “I find that is my quality time. I try to get six or more hours of sleep at night and I try to take regular holidays every four months, where I can go and have a different experience.”
What Donna makes sure she experiences every year is Carnival in Trinidad. That experience grew out of her days in medical school in Trinidad.
“When I trained in Trinidad between 1997 and 2000, my room-mates and I made the decision in medical school that we should embrace the culture and Carnival,” she said. “We used to go to Carnival parties as students. Since then it has become a kind of ritual with my friends each year.”
But those yearly jaunts to Trinidad aren’t just about partying. For Donna, this is also a chance to reconnect with her family.
“My dad is Trinidadian, and I use the time to hang with my family as well,” she revealed.
While Donna is no stranger to working hard, she touts the benefits of playing hard as well, for an individual’s own personal and professional well-being.
“It’s important to do what you like to do to get some sort of pleasure in life,” Donna said. “My theory is that the more time I have for myself, the more I can give to my patients.”
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