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8 Tips for doctors to keep a better work-life balance

August 21, 2020 · 5 min read

Have you sometimes felt like you give a piece of yourself to your patients, to your family and friends, and you feel like your energy is being drowned? Were there times when you went to work with reluctance, and you had thoughts similar to “I want to change my profession, but I don’t know what else to do..”.

In those scenarios, and especially now during this time of uncertainty with the pandemic, there is a concern that stress and anxiety follow doctors from the office to their homes more than ever. Additional shifts, lack of own time, and lack of efficacy can all be on your plate, leaving you feeling like you have lost your work-life balance and stressing about how to manage it.

Telehealth companies have tried to come up with solutions to help doctors and patients alike during this hard time. Telehealth platforms, like Healee, allow doctors to work remotely and maintain flexible hours. Read along to learn what useful tricks and strategies Healee and some doctors shared for a better work-life balance.

In this post, you will read about eight tips that will help you figure out how to best manage your work-life balance and achieve your wellness goals.

Have a good quality of sleep

First and foremost, prioritize your health because it will make you a better doctor and person. As Thomas Dekker said: “Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together”. You will be happier and more productive if you sleep well and take care of your emotional and physical state. As a doctor, you know that sleep deprivation leads to a lot of trouble, mainly related to health risks. Moreover, sleep deprivation harms your mental health and the ability to manage work-life balance. A study by the National Sleep Foundation showed that people who lacked sleep had problems with their cognitive abilities, including being impatient, finding it hard to concentrate, and feeling less productive. One study found that when you don’t sleep well you get tired 11% faster and another study confirmed that medical errors can be reduced by over a third just by shortening work shifts and allowing people to get more sleep. 

Rachel Salas, who is an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University in the US, claims that an extra hour of sleep positively influences people’s cognitive abilities, boosts productivity and mood, and helps with concentration and problem-solving.

Fit in a quick exercise

Speaking of sleep, exercise helps improve your sleep too. It can be anything from a small 30-minute walk in the nearby park, some yoga time, playing with your kids, etc. It is proven that exercise also helps you release some of the stress that has piled up in you. One study found that exercise plays a role in how people feel they can manage their work-life balance. Moreover, exercise boosts your self-efficacy and confidence and increases your endurance. With a healthy body, you will have a fresh mind, and you will function better.

Improve your time management skills

You can achieve efficiency in time management by setting long- and short-term goals, planning and organizing in advance. For starters, you can use technology as your advantage. One great functionality of the Healee telemedicine platform is that the doctor app, Healee MD, allows you to set up your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and availability. This way, you set some boundaries and patients will know when you are away. You can also use Healee MD’s speech to text option or send medical forms to your patients prior to their consultation with you, which can save you time.

Healee MD strives to help doctors deliver better and more comprehensive care while thinking about new and efficient ways to make their work more easy and pleasant. From the many functionalities Healee MD offers, the online booking service is among the ones that were most useful to doctors because doctors can see their next day’s priorities and prepare and adjust their time accordingly. You can learn more about why doctors choose telemedicine in these hard times during the pandemic here.

Maintain a healthy eating lifestyle

Even though it might be hard to find time between consultations to grab on a healthy meal, make sure you have prepared something at home with a nutritious value. Eating healthy improves your health and decreases your chances of chronic illness. Another step you can do is start following this fabulous nutrition podcast “Weight loss for busy physicians”. This podcast is presented to you by Katrina Ubell, MD – a pediatrician who helps successful doctors maintain a healthy eating lifestyle for the rest of their lives.

Supplement some of your in-office hours with telemedicine appointments

By taking care of patient cases via online consultation, you will free up those work hours for other things, such as spending time with family and friends. Even if you manage to squeeze as little as 15 minutes to relax or find peace somewhere, this will help you decompress and re-energize a bit. If you have just started implementing telemedicine into your practice, you have the benefit of being able to set expectations from the start. You can choose convenient working hours and have a better work-life balance.

Book yourself private time

The time you give yourself is very important. When you take the time to relax with family and friends, pursue outside interests, and “get away”, you recharge and find renewed strength to handle all that comes to you through work. With Healee MD, there is an easy way to inform your patients that you will be away. In Healee MD, doctors can send mass message campaigns to all or selected number of patients. This feature allows them to inform patients in advance if they will be taking time off or there is any change in their schedules.

Celebrate each day

Take a few moments each day to remind yourself about the incredible things you have done. Whatever small task you complete for the day make sure to give yourself a heads up for it. If you have finished your workday and you managed to prioritize what is important to you this is one victory. We all have different life commitments and if today you only managed to do half of them it is still something to celebrate on. You don’t always have to say “yes” to all things, or try to be everything to everyone all the time. You can instead focus on what is already on your plate and succeed in it. If you start doing this you will enhance career and life satisfaction.

Make time for holiday

You need to schedule breaks, especially after a busy month at work. Don’t think that taking time off will disrupt the workflow, or you will be off track once you come back from vacation. This fear should not restrict you from taking a much-needed break. With proper planning ahead, you can take a vacation and not worry about these things. Instead, think about the positives – you re-energize and become more productive once you come back. You will return to work with a clear head and fresh approach to work.

Summary

Although there is no universal solution to maintaining balance, recognizing the stressors that get you out of the equation is one big step to finding and maintaining it. Life is unexpected, unexpected things happen every day and you will sometimes lose it. Yet you need to find your individual work-life balance. Not only will this improve your emotional and physical well-being but it also will help you perform better at our profession and in unexpected situations in life.

Once you find your own balance, your brain and body will start working better during both your professional and personal time. You have to accept that there is no ‘perfect’ work-life balance. There are some factors that you cannot influence (like increased responsibilities at home, increased work time, etc) but you can teach yourself how to work around them and get the balance you need.

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