As a physician, your daily life consists of wearing many different, constantly changing hats. Your early mornings are filled with filing paperwork and updating patient information.
Before you can catch your breath, it is on to a full schedule of patient visits, follow-ups, and endless checklists. Then you might have the chance to grab a quick bite to eat before an afternoon of appointments, phone calls, and ordering prescriptions.
The stress doesn’t end once you get home, as the constant feeling of being on call – literally and emotionally – can keep you from leaning into your home life.
Oh, and did we mention that lives are literally on the line the entire time?
With so much pulling on the lives of physicians and healthcare professionals, there is a rising trend in the inability to manage a healthy work-life balance. While nearly everyone in a high-stress job may find it hard to keep a steady rhythm, research shows that physicians have a harder time balancing it all. A study by the Archives of Internal Medicine has shown that physicians self-report struggles to maintain separation from their work life and home responsibilities a rate twice as high as any other vocation.
As the job shows little signs of slowing down or getting less stressful (hello, global pandemic!), here are several tips that can help you catch some peace and begin to create some margin that allows you to delineate between work and home.
Three Tips For A Better Work-Life Balance
Make Time For “You Time”
The first step in creating space between your home and work life begins with an intentional focus on you. Being a physician often means pouring oneself out to others without giving yourself a chance to refill your tanks.
Remember: What gets scheduled gets done! Consider scheduling the following into your daily calendar – just the same as any meeting or patient appointment:
- Grab a healthy snack.
- Go to bed earlier or sneak in a nap during the day.
- Fit in a quick, brisk walk or workout between meetings.
- Read a chapter of a book completely unrelated to work.
- Sit down for an uninterrupted meal with family.
- Give yourself an hour with your favorite pastime or hobby.
- Plan a special date night with your partner or a happy hour with a friend.
Treat these moments the same as you would with any appointment – with yourself as the patient!
Practice Presence & Express Gratitude
Another great tip for helping you create a work-life balance in the healthcare field is to being practicing being present in your current moment. It is easy to allow yourself to get caught up in the actions of the previous hours or days, or find your thoughts drifting toward tomorrow’s to-do list or appointments. While being prepared is essential, missing out on the present moment you are living will lead to constant tension and feeling that you need to be somewhere else.
Practice adding moments of mindfulness into your day by allowing yourself small bits of time to breathe slowly, focus on your surroundings, and remind yourself that you are doing important, life-giving work.
While you are at it, trying expressing gratitude and thankfulness to yourself during these times of mindfulness. Studies show that individuals who remind themselves that the work they are doing is essential and worthwhile find themselves experiencing a greater sense of satisfaction and the ability to tune out stress about work while at home.
Learn To Delegate (At Home & Work)
A third fantastic way to begin to build margin your day and increase your enjoyment of both your work and home life is to start practicing the art of delegation. Are there any tasks at work or at home that you could delegate to someone else who has the time, skills, and resources to handle? By allowing others to step in and help you, you can build more space into your hours – and show others that you value their expertise and experience!
A huge reason why so many physicians face difficulty managing work-life balance is needing to control every facet of their life. Unfortunately, nobody is Superman – even if we herald our frontline workers as superheroes! Attempting to do everything yourself is a free first-class ticket to burnout. Give yourself a chance to catch your breath and focus on your current moment by delegating tasks to colleagues or outsourced clients, even if that forces you to practice faith and trust in others!
Small Steps Lead To Huge Results
While none of these steps above are a silver-bullet cure for a physician’s stressful life, they are small steps toward cultivating a life of greater peace and presence. You cannot be the best physician for others if you have nothing to offer of yourself, so take the time to create space and margin in your day to ensure that your work and home life are equally enjoyable and successful.
Apollo is dedicated to helping provide resources for physicians and healthcare workers that encourage healthy habits and more fulfilling lives. For more great tips, tricks, and insights like the ones above, visit Apollo online to see our library of resources, as well as our growing network that is helping healthcare professionals find the perfect fit in a variety of medical facilities and fields!