1. Support Their Efforts To Work Out
Being a doctor is about physical energy as much as mental energy.
For example, when they’re on call, in a matter of minutes they could be going from deep sleep to getting up to do a procedure or making life and death judgment calls. They could also be running to codes and doing CPR for a long time.
To give their best performance, they have to be in their best physical shape. That’s why it’s important that they stay fit.
My husband and I have an agreement: He gets his workout in before he comes home. If I know it’s a day he’s exercising, I don’t interrupt him with a text like “when are you coming home?” or say one negative word for being home very late.
It’s on your DrSpouse to commit to working out. But YOU can help carve out the time to make it happen.
2. Fuel Them With Fast, Healthy Foods That Don’t Require Reheating
On National Doctors’ Day this year, my husband’s hospital gave doctors a nice breakfast with an omelet station. He went to it only to grab a bagel because that was all he had time for.
Oh, the irony! 😂
And I know he’s not alone. Most doctors don’t have protected time to eat. That means that eating for doctors usually happens whenever they have a chance.
To fuel your DrSpouse’s body when they’re on the run, pack healthy food that is fast to eat and doesn’t require any reheating. Some great ideas are homemade granola bars and hardboiled eggs.
(Side note, I also find that when I feed my husband healthy food, I am surrounded by healthy foods and also eat healthy, too. #leftovers)
3. Create A Good Sleep Environment
When my husband was a third-year medical student, he started to wear a pager. From that time on, he developed the ability to fall asleep pretty much anywhere. I won’t forget how he would sleep on the floor just a few feet from the bed — as if a few extra steps were that much more effort. (I don’t get it.)
I bet you have similar stories of weird places you found your DrSpouse asleep, too 😂
You can’t control how much sleep your DrSpouse can get. But you can try to make the sleep they do get, the good quality, REM type. You can do this by encouraging them to go to bed, getting blackout curtains, switching in the settings to filter blue out blue light on their smartphone, and having them go easy on the caffeine.
4. Free Up Their Time
If your DrSpouse wants to rock their training, they need to do research, write case reports, serve on committees, become chief, and so on. All of these go a long way when trying to Match into the top choice for fellowship or job opportunities, especially in competitive subspecialties.
That’s why your support can come in. The more they don’t have to be on the phone lowering their car insurance, planning the next vacation, or figuring out how to unclog the sink drain, the more they can focus on accomplishing all that they need to do for medicine.
(Important note: You shouldn’t be abused or feel like a domestic martyr. If you do, get Thee and Thy DrSpouse to a marriage counselor stat.)
5. Connect As Closely And As Regularly As You Can
A friend shared with me that when her husband finished training, they finally had more money to go on more vacations. But they were so disconnected that it would take the first three days of their trip just to break the ice and learn to talk to one another again.
Her story isn’t rare in medical marriages.
The way to fix this is to regularly connect as a couple as often as you can, not just on vacations, but every single day. Text a picture of yourself. Have date nights on the couch at home. Hold hands while falling asleep. Wave and watch their car pull away from the driveway when they go to work. Listen to them so carefully that you can recall what they said the next day.