Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

How do you cope with a frustrating day?


Physicians share how they let go of a tough day.

Lifelong Learning in Clinical Excellence | June 22, 2018 | <1 min read


Laura Hanyok, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

If I’m having a frustrating day, while I’m in it I think about what I’m going to eat for dinner that night. This helps me get through it! I try to make it reasonably healthy, like takeout from a fast casual place. Something like that gives me something to look forward to and makes life easier especially if I don’t have to cook!


After a frustrating day, I give myself some “mindless” me time once my work and family obligations are done. I’ll watch one of my favorite TV shows, start a puzzle, or browse (but not buy from) my favorite online stores. As caregivers who are physicians, we don’t always allow ourselves time to do “nonproductive” things, and for me accomplishing nothing for a couple hours helps to give me brain a break.

Margaret Chisolm, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

I enjoy cooking elaborate three-course meals together with my husband—especially after a stressful day. We plan and shop for the meals on the weekend so that we can dive right into preparation when I come home from work. Immersing myself in this shared activity immediately turns my focus away from the busy workday and allows me to unwind.

What do you think?

Do you want to add to the conversation? Please share!

Mrin Shetty, MD, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick, New Jersey

I like to read Rumi. His words call you to your higher self, reminding you of your purpose amidst the chaos.


When you do things
From your soul
You feel a river moving in you
A joy.


Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

I rely on my friends and family. They help me see beyond a bad day and put things in perspective. Insight into who I am by those who know me best always helps put a frustrating day into context and reminds me that tomorrow will be a better day.

Rachel Salas, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

I disconnect once I get home. Often I call my sister or a friend.


I read DailyOms—these can be helpful just to help me reflect.


I remember that everyone has bad days. This was just one for me. Tomorrow will be better.


I remind myself that most of the time whatever happened was not likely personal.


Finally, I try to have something I’m looking forward to, like an upcoming trip. This helps me to look ahead and while today was a “#!#$*!!” I’ll soon be on a beach somewhere.

Mattan Schuchman, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

The Great British Baking Show is really a great way to decompress.

If that doesn’t do the trick, then baking something myself surely does– especially desserts!