Balancing life and work is a skill needed to create a harmonious, happy life. The keyword is building a structure or a system to plan and manage your life with a holistic approach. For many doctors, days and night can get off balance, and work commitments turn to a heavy weight on the shoulders. Allowing your work schedule to dominate your life and eat up your leisure time leaving no room to recharge your battery, is the number one cause of burnout and stress.
While it is overwhelming thinking of the demands of work as a physician and also be a good partner, parent, friend, having realistic expectations and building a strong support system might help you reduce stress.
Being ambitious as a medical doctor doesn’t mean that you deprive yourself of the fun of life. Being busy is not an indicator of your importance, but your results and impact are.
Health and Wellbeing Management
Ironically, though our primary mission in life is to help others maintain their health and wellbeing, we fall far under the bar. Neglecting your body needs such as adequate sleep and nutritious diet affects your health and erode your energy. Here are a few tips to manage your health and wellbeing:
- Have healthy snacks available at work and at home.
- Schedule exercise and workout. You might have access to a gym or exercise room at work, if not enroll in the nearest gym.
- Fight sleep deprivation by making sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep every day. Schedule short naps during your work hours to recharge your energy.
Calendar and Schedule Management
Your schedule is not only your call schedule or shifts. Your schedule/ calendar should include all the aspects of your life. With a well-designed paper day planner, a scheduling system, software or an app, you will be able to lay down the foundation to control your time. Add all the activities in your life to your scheduling system, especially those activities outside of your medical work commitments such as your workout schedule, family event, social activities and some downtime when you can practice a hobby you like.
Doctors do not know how to say “No”, they always feel obligated to help and support others. Although this is such an amazing trait, this might lead to accepting extra shifts or more workload. Once you have your day planner in place, you will be able to see all your commitments and determine your priorities. Having your priorities in order is critical. For example, close family related commitment comes before acquaintances related activities.
Success as a medical doctor includes many elements in addition to money and status like health, passion, security, fulfillment, and joy. Your ability to adapt and master the skill of balancing all the aspects of your life will make the difference between living an empty life full of meaningless tasks and living a flourishing and satisfying life. It is necessary to maintain your motivation and stability through resting, playing and responding to our physical, emotional and mental needs.