One of the most prominent battles Doctors struggle with is maintaining some sort of work/life balance despite a hectic schedule. In this piece, we will investigate whether work/life balance is achievable and realistic for Doctors, or whether it is a unicorn.
What is Work/Life Balance?
Work/life balance is a concept based on the proper prioritisation between work and lifestyle. It’s essentially about efficiently managing the juggling act between your career and the other activities and endeavours that are important to you, such as health, pleasure and family.
It is well documented that a lack of balance between personal and professional lives can be the cause of a number issues, including stress, burn out, depression, and in some cases can have serious physical health consequences. For more on the dangers, read this Medical News Today article here.
Struggles with Work/Life Balance for Doctors
In a profession as busy and strenuous as being a Physician, both mentally and physically, work/life balance can be particularly hard for Doctors to achieve. Burnout numbers and unhappiness are much discussed concerns in the medical community. Work/life balance is the catchword answer often cited to solve these issues but integrating “life” into a Doctor’s career is easier said than done.
While getting to a better work-life balance can seem an impossible task, there are some adjustments you can make to improve things.
Schedule Time to Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health
It’s important to be able to take some time for your physical and mental health, whether it’s a walk outside after work, dinner with a loved one or reading a new book. It’s crucial to set aside time for yourself each day, even if it’s 20 minutes, just to reset your mental state or get some exercise. It’ll do wonders to your perception of your work/life balance.
Taking breaks during working hours is critical to keeping you fresh and at your best for your patients and colleagues. Working yourself ragged only makes it harder for you to function at optimum levels, which isn’t good for you or the people you work with.
Delegate Tasks When Possible
One of the most effective ways to lessen your workload and improve your balance is delegation. It’s quite incredible how seemingly small tasks add up and take a real toll on a Physician’s workload and productivity. Successfully delegating appropriate tasks will ultimately reduce stress levels and allow you to work at optimum efficiency for longer, thus reducing the likelihood of burnout.
While it may sound like a cliché to ‘live in the moment’, it’s actually of significant importance for Doctors to do so. In a profession as busy and stressful as Medicine, it’s imperative for physical and mental wellbeing to not take the work home with you. Being able to separate your work and your personal life makes a big difference to how balanced you feel and devoting your time to one aspect of your life far more than the other can have severe negative impacts.
While there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ work/life balance, the discussion and tips above will hopefully help you consider how you are spending your time and energy in the multiple areas of your life, and how to manage them efficiently. Ultimately, work/life balance does exist. Also for more helpful tips on doctor wellbeing and burnout, give our 10 Ways to Avoid Burnout As A Doctor blog a read here.
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