Medicine is a challenging practice — that much goes without saying. It requires dedication, patience, and a lot of hard work. Many medical practitioners agree that one of the toughest periods in their career is their residency. The shifts and long hours, the training and the pressure to do well can be insanely tough, both mentally and physically. If not managed well, this could lead to errors and accidents, which are, needless to say, dangerous when you’re handling people’s lives. You need to maintain a work-life balance to ensure that you’re at your best when at work — and also for the sake of your own well-being. Otherwise, you’re headed toward burnout.
We’ve listed down some tips to help you manage it better.
How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance in Residency
1. Schedule Designated “You Time”
It’s important to work hard, of course, but you should never forget to make time for yourself. When it’s your day off, leave work behind and concentrate on you. Like your gadgets, you also need to recharge.
Regardless of how much work might be waiting for you, go do something purely for fun. Go to the spa to get a well-deserved massage, light some scented candles, play your favorite music, take a relaxing bubble bath, go to the movies, or do whatever you love.
It’s not bad to be “selfish.” It’s necessary for your mental and physical health. It’s like the National Alliance on Mental Illness reminds us: There’s a reason they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others when you’re on an airplane.
2. Make Self-Care a Priority
You’re taking care of patients, but are you caring enough for your own well-being? Your work is stressful, so you have to compensate by taking great care of yourself. Your patients aren’t the only ones deserving of good health and self-care.
At the very least, remember to stick to the basics: eat healthy and nourishing foods, get enough sun, exercise regularly, and sleep, sleep, sleep.
3. Nurture the Relationships That Matter to You
Things can get very busy and very hectic, and there will be times when you’ll feel too tired to go out. Don’t forget to stay in touch with your family and friends. You need a healthy social life in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Meet up with your friends or family whenever you have free time. Don’t have free time? Make free time.
Eat out, have a cup of coffee, spend movie nights together if you feel too tired to dress up and go out. If your schedules don’t coincide and you can’t make time to meet, then call them for a short chat to catch up.
Your relationships are important. Nurture them, especially the ones that matter to you. This will help you maintain a better work-life balance during your residency. As the Mental Health Foundation says, friendships are important for your mental wellness.
Don’t let your busy schedule keep you from taking good care of yourself. Make time for you. Remember, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.
If you need help managing your residency interview or another part of your clinical experience fill out the form below to begin your new life adventure!