A wellbeing checklist for doctors

As a doctor, it is extremely important to take care of your own health and wellbeing. This list is a great way to check in with yourself or begin a conversation with a friend who might be struggling.

Physical health and wellbeing

How is your health? Do you have a regular GP? Just because you are a doctor, it doesn’t mean you should prescribe your own medications. Take care of your physical health. Register with a GP, eat well and take regular exercise.

See drs4drs for support available for doctors.

Mental wellbeing

It is not just anxiety or depression that is a cause for concern; negative thought patterns can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. Identify negative thoughts such as “I don’t have enough time…”, “I’m not good enough…” or “Things never turn out right for me…”. Then make a conscious effort to change your thoughts to positive ones. This will have a dramatic improvement on your mental wellbeing.

Spiritual wellbeing

Spirituality means different things to different people but having thoughts about meaning in life, or a world view can help prevent burnout and poor choices and decision making.


Good relationships are important to your health and wellbeing. Make sure you make time to nurture and cultivate good relationships. It is especially important to have a friend or mentor who you can discuss and debrief events that happen at work and in your personal life.

During lockdown, make a special effort to maintain your relationships through the wealth of technology available. Try something different like having a family board game night via video.


We all need out of work activities. To have work/life balance make sure you have one enjoyable activity a week that doesn’t involve work. If you’re not committed to anything right now think about trying a new hobby, or sport.

While this can be hard during lockdown, try to take up activities that can be done in your on home, or within your State Government’s allowances. Do not underestimate the power of simply going for a walk.


What is your work environment and home environment like? A cluttered, uncomfortable, or unorganised physical environment can cause stress and discontent. Make sure your environment makes you feel content and happy.

This is especially important during COVID-19 lockdown, as our home environments can also be our work, education, and leisure environments.

Got a feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it. Learn more about the signs and when it’s time to ask R U OK?

Dr Hilton Koppe is a general practitioner in Lennox Heads, NSW, with an interest in doctor’s health and medical education. His own health and personal care struggles as a doctor led him to develop a checklist to help doctors to establish good habits early on, and have a successful and fulfilling career and life. Read more about Dr Koppe on his website. Image supplied: Doctors of Australia.  Please note: this is not a clinical resource. See drs4drs for further support.