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How do you balance being a doctor and your normal life?

Hi, I am a sophomore in high school and I want to be an OB/GYN when I finish college. I just want to know how easy it is to juggle work and home when doing a demanding job like this. It isn't like any other job, as I already know, but I want to know how to balance the two. I want to see how to manage your personal life and career when doing this job to get the most enjoyable experience possible. #health #obstetrics #women #gynecology


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angie’s Answer

Hello Te'yah!

How do you balance being a doctor and having a life? Well, this is an interesting question, and it's a broad question because any career you choose, you will need balance.

I am a Ph.D. researcher of ancient wisdom and Jungian Psychology --- how I balance my life is meditation (you might call it prayer). I am also a yoga teacher and meditation coach -- and moving my body with my breath helps me to balance out my stuck parts of my working/home life.

Balance comes from within, so no matter the career you choose, if you can breathe, relax, go inward, and know you are safe and loved then you will achieve balance.

On a practical note: Any career you have, there will be stressful days, exciting days, lovely days, playful days, difficult days, and miserable days. Learning to balance your school work, extra activities, friendships, and love interests now, while still in high school, will help you as a young adult and guide you into your future.

Things to do that have helped me and still do:
Ask for help when needed.
Give yourself hugs.
Exercise.
Eat healthy foods.
Move your breath.
Smile.
Cry.
Make notes of your positive sides and your negative sides.
Allow emotions to move through the mind and body naturally - this creates balance.
Speak up.
Be still.
Note your dreams.
Notice the small things - like bees and flowers.
Help others when you can.
Say no when you must.

Thankful to have met you here - good luck on your journey! ~ Angie


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Wayne’s Answer

Hi Te'yah! I have family members who are doctors and I got this advice from them.

Achieving a good work-life balance can be challenging, but it’s essential for both your well-being and your ability to successfully practice medicine. It turns out that the secret to work-life balance for doctors may hinge on better self-care.
one thing in common—they involve self-care—something physicians are notoriously bad at.
Here are a few ways you can achieve work-life balance.

Identify whom/what is most important in your life. Ask yourself who the most important people and activities in your life are. Then, draw some boundaries and carve out time to focus on them.

Trim time-wasters. Take a strict inventory of your day and the things that you consider less-than-productive. Do your staff meetings spiral out of control and take up more time than they should? Does answering your emails get you off track and cause you to waste time indefinitely? Does your practice partner go on and on about his daily workout? Do EHR updates send you into a procrastinating spiral?
Know yourself, know your priorities, and make strict rules to help you—and those around you—stay on task. Put strict time limits on your meetings, for example. Or, politely excuse yourself when your partner starts in on how many reps he got in at the gym last night. The strict rules are for yourself and others. Limiting the things that waste your time will help you carve out more time for the things that are important to you.
Don’t try to do it all. Focus on the activities you value most and delegate the rest.

Make small changes, reap big rewards. Similar to other lifestyle changes like diet or smoking cessation, achieving proper work-life balance involves lifestyle changes. And these are best made a little at a time, rather than drastically. Making too big of a change—say cutting your work hours down from 80 hours a week to 40—will never work. Start small and work your way up. If you start big, you will surely be met with failure. If you start small, you can use the small victories to build momentum in achieving larger changes.

Engage in regular physical activity or meditation. For better work-life balance, set aside regular and adequate chunks of time each week (and optimally, each day) for self-care, which should include some sort of physical activity. Exercising and meditating are great ways to relieve stress and take care of both your physical and mental states. And exercising isn’t just good for your health, it can also make you a better doctor. Exercise, do yoga, or meditate. Find what works for you, and stick with it.

Do something that brings you joy. When you’re not at work, do something that brings you joy. Pick up a good book and enjoy a good read, or start a new hobby. Hobbies are a great way to relieve the stress caused by the busy practice of medicine. They can add interest to your life and give you something to look forward to in your spare time. Engaging in a hobby forces you to relax and refocus your energies. Hobbies demand that you be present in the “now,” and concentrate on something--anything--other than the stressors in your life. Pick something you are interested in. Some examples of great hobbies to try include orienteering, historical re-enactment, home-brewing beer, bird watching, survival training, yoga, and gardening. Focusing on something you enjoy doing gives your mind a chance to take a breather from focusing on things you have to do. Try it!

Bottom line
Keep in mind that work-life balance does not mean that you spend equal amounts of time at work and off work. It means finding what works best for you, your health, and your peace of mind, and deters burnout. Also remember that little changes mean a lot, especially in achieving work-life balance.

Good luck!

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