One of the greatest challenges physicians I talk to are facing in their life and career right now is work-life balance.
The impact on personal health, relationships with family and friends, and career satisfaction come at a very high cost.
Many have shared the multiple attempts made to improve the situation.
While there may be some temporary relief, most report that these changes don’t help for long.
The demanding pace of medicine with long work hours (both at work and at home), unpredictable schedules, emotional and mental strain, and increasing loss of autonomy, can make it difficult for physicians to maintain a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives.
While the rate of burnout continues to rise across multiple occupations, physicians are at especially high risk.
Work-life balance is not a static process. It’s a dynamic process that’s guaranteed to shift over time as life circumstances change and bring periods of uncertainty.
Addressing work-life balance challenges requires a multifaceted approach involving both individual strategies and systemic changes within the healthcare industry.
Exhaustion, overwhelm, and self-doubt are real factors that can be obstacles to creating more balance across all areas of your life.
While initiatives are underway to address the pervasive systems issues, there are things you can do now to bring about some relief.
Start with prioritizing your own self-care first - focus on simple nutritious meals and snacks, regular movement activities, adequate sleep (quality and quantity) and rest, and healthy coping activities like meditation, journaling, prayer, etc..
Then, take the following 3 actions to begin the process of balancing your life in a meaningful way.
1. Balance responsibilities for domestic tasks and childcare.
Establish clear expectations for household tasks like cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Decide who will be responsible for pick-ups and drop-offs to daycare and/or school, help with homework, etc. Have the conversation with your spouse, partner, significant other, or supportive family members. Revisit these roles and responsibilities as often as needed to maintain greater balance.
2. Get clear on what balance feels like for you.
When work has taken over the other areas of your life for long enough, you may not remember what balance feels like. It’s time to find your way to a place where you feel more spaciousness in your life with room to breathe. Letting go of the busyness can be challenging because it’s so pervasive. But when you become intimately familiar with what balance feels like for you, you’re more likely to notice when it’s off and can then choose to do what’s needed to restore it.
3. Proactively plan days where your calendar is clear.
For the two decades I worked in clinical practice, the only days I took off were for vacation when we were traveling or when I was extremely sick (i.e., influenza with fever 104 degrees F and surgery with 6 week recovery). The concept of a mental health day just didn’t seem feasible. How could I take a day off “to do nothing” when I felt so behind across all areas of my life? I have since learned the importance of giving myself permission to have a day that is purely mine. A day where I get to spontaneously decide how I want to spend it when it comes, guilt-free. This takes some practice, but the return on investment is well worth it.
Finding the rituals and routines that help you create more equilibrium between work, play, and rest is subjective. It can look different for everyone.
Developing a morning and evening routine can be an important step in adopting new habits that support your well-being and cultivate better work-life balance.
Start small and be consistent. Notice what actions help to energize you and which ones drain you.
Once you’re addressing your personal needs, you can decide if you want to advocate for changes in your healthcare system or organization, such as improved scheduling practices, reduced administrative burdens, and supportive workplace policies to promote work-life balance.
Ultimately, achieving work-life balance requires a conscious effort and ongoing adjustments.
By recognizing the challenges and implementing strategies to promote better life balancing skills, you can improve your overall well-being and satisfaction in both your personal and professional life.
I am in the process of developing resources to help physicians cultivate greater work-life balance.
If you are interested in this topic and willing to have a brief conversation with me to help inform these resources, please click here to email me with “better balance” in the subject line and we can find a convenient time to connect.
May you summon the courage to feel your way into better balance. It is possible. And you deserve it.
5/14/2023 0 Comments
Today we're celebrating Mother's Day in the U.S. Relationships can be challenging, including those with our mothers.
You probably have your own idea of what a mother "should" be. And without even knowing it, you compare the way your mother shows up (or did show up) against that ideal.
Whether your mother met your needs or not, you can always decide to provide the nurturing and care that you desire to yourself.
Learning to be the mother to yourself that you wish you had can be a transformative process that involves cultivating self-compassion, self-awareness, and self-care.
Here are some strategies that may be helpful:
Be patient and compassionate with yourself, and know that you are worthy of love and care.
Know someone who may need to hear this message? Please share this article with them.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. So, often we focus on physical health without addressing mental health until there's a problem.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, especially for physicians who are dealing with high levels of stress and exhaustion.
It is more than the absence of mental illness. The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.
It can sometimes feel hard to find the time to support your mental health when you're already feeling stressed and exhausted.
Believe it or not, taking a few simple steps each day to intentionally care for your mental and emotional well-being can make a huge difference in how you feel.
Allow this month of awareness to be the impetus to develop habits and discover strategies that can improve your mental health.
Here are some tips that can help:
If you know of a physician or health care professional that could benefit from these tips, please share this article with them.
You never know what someone is going through (so many in the medical community are suffering in silence). This could be the thing that starts the conversation.
Life Beyond Clinical Practice with Dr. Michelle Bailey
Hi, I'm Dr. Michelle Bailey.
I help physicians who are unhappy or unsatisfied with their current career find a nonclinical career that they love.
Retiring early from clinical practice after almost 20 years as a board-certified pediatrician I successfully made the leap and transitioned to a nonclinical career.
I'm thriving in my new career and am on a mission to help other physicians do the same with the support, guidance, and community that I wish I had when I was struggling with this decision.
You're invited to connect with me in my private Facebook community for physicians to learn about all things related to your nonclinical career transition. Join here.
All Being Present End Of Year Energy Drains Exercise Feel Free Fitness Free Yourself Getting Things Done Goals Health Leadership Life Lessons Life Vision Mind Body Connection Mind-body Connection Mindfulness Recharging Your Batteries Ritual Self Care Self-care Success Women's Empowerment Women's Health Work Life Balance
Copyright 2023. Michelle Bailey & Company, LLC.
www.drmichellebailey.com. All Rights Reserved.
www.drmichellebailey.com. All Rights Reserved.
Proudly powered by Weebly