How To Have An Amazing Work-Life Balance In Medicine & Still Make An Impact

15 years ago I was working in hospital medicine and while I loved the interaction with patients, the teamwork with my colleagues and the opportunities to continue learning, I felt drained of energy. My life outside the wards was chaotic, I couldn’t commit to classes I would sign up for, I often missed important occasions with friends and family, and I had zero time to prioritize my own health.


I knew I wanted to find a meaningful career path and make a bigger impact. I knew I wanted to feel fulfilled by my work but not at the expense of my well-being. I felt lost……

I couldn’t find any role models or mentors that inspired me…

I felt trapped by the studying I had already put in…

I didn’t want to throw away all my previous training….

The fear of failure was immense…


But then I realized that the joy of medicine is the diversity, the joy of life is that we are all unique and WE CAN create our own paths to happiness. An amazing work-life balance is possible in medicine and looks different for everyone!


Fast forward….and I love my chosen specialty (Public Health), I love working to improve the health of populations around the world and I continue to make conscious decisions about what the world of medicine means to me…with a healthy body and mind! I have been able to explore my passion for yoga and meditation and moments of chaos are few and far between!

So how did I do this? Here’s how!


1. UNPACK YOUR BELIEFS ABOUT BEING A DOCTOR

Expectations that you carry around from your days in med school can be incredibly limiting. It is only when you start to explore why you think and feel in certain ways that you can challenge these beliefs and start to move forward. I had a very limited idea of what ‘practising medicine’ looked like and a real fear that not seeing patients every day meant I wasn’t ‘helping people’ or somehow failing my profession. What does being a Doctor mean to you and what aspects of medicine do you love and what are those you are happy for someone else to do? The work environment and people are just as important as the specialty you focus on….I love infectious diseases and am just as fulfilled working in ID in PH as I was seeing ID patients on the wards….but the role is completely different.


2. UNDERSTAND WHAT HEALTH AND WELLNESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU

If we don’t know what health and wellness look and feel like it is pretty tough for us to share that with patients and communities. Connecting with your body and mind helps you to become the healthiest version of yourself so you are no longer giving from an empty cup and can be the best role model to all those around you. For me, it was yoga that helped me connect to my mind and body –and I realized I could be a healthy, happy doctor. For you, it might be a different holistic practice but by prioritizing your health and ‘doing no harm’ to number 1 you can tip the work-life balance to 10/10.


3. ACCEPT YOUR NEEDS SO THAT YOU CAN SHARE YOUR PASSIONS WITH THOSE AROUND YOU

Without knowing what you need it is impossible to make steps towards that goal. Accepting that you do not need to feel like a square peg in a round hole can be so freeing. Once you identify this start to share your passions with those around you – I promise they will be more supportive than you think! Voicing our needs and desires makes them more real! Find the courage to share your authentic voice and let go of the constraints of needing to fit in. Start to visualize what the ideal path looks like for you and bring your headspace into believing it!


4. GET CLARITY ON YOUR VALUES AND GOALS

Taking time to think is vital to be able to know your values, vision and goals. Understanding my values was a key point in my career transition. Suddenly everything became clearer -why I loved certain environments, and hated working with certain people and I started to understand what I wanted my career and life to look like. By thinking about your future self you will gain greater clarity on where you want to head to!


5. BRING MINDFULNESS INTO YOUR LIFE

So much of the time we live in our subconscious minds. We are trained to respond to highly stressful situations, it can be hard to remove this reflex from other events or moments in our lives. Activating your conscious mind and being more mindful about your decision-making, in and outside work will bring more calm and allow you to be present for those around you.


6. TAKE ACTION TOWARDS YOUR GOALS

By nature we are high-achievers – we have all worked hard to get where we are! Take this confidence with you to your next step. Maybe that step is not clear yet, but the key is to keep moving forward. I believe that no one is truly stuck, yes, we all have commitments and challenges but if you are committed to making a change you can make it happen!


If you're struggling with transitioning to a career outside full-time clinical medicine, my Transition and Transform Program for Doctors can help you to control your time, have more balance in your life and make a bigger impact!

To find out more book a FREE 60-minute discovery call. https://calendly.com/resilienceyoga/60min


Image by Gustavo Torres on Unsplash