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  • Writer's pictureBra-Shona Jones

Next Up: Tight Rope Walking! Establishing a good work life balance


Walking the Fine Line

Anyone working in medicine knows that work life balance is one of the hardest things to obtain. Whether you start feeling pressure at home from your family or pressure from your job, you end up pulling your hair out trying to figure out which way to go and how you can please everyone. Somewhere in there, you also remember that you have to please yourself, but even with this thought, you somehow still manage to take last place to the priorities of pleasing others. Medicine leaves you little time for yourself because patients are always calling and even after a trying day you still have to come home and put efforts into your partner, your dog, or whoever else you have at home. For me, I often find myself stuck between taking on more days at work to appear as the "easy" employee, and giving into my families request to have more time at home to appear as the "super" partner/step-mother. Dealing with this issue sometimes and often times leaves me pouring from an empty cup. So then what is the answer? how do I/you maintain a good work life balance?

Being Present in the moment at home

One thing I practice includes being present in the moment. When I am home, I try to be home. Meaning, I often do not take work calls, I do not finish charts, I take a specific amount of time to spend with my family. Every night after work, even when I am tired, I stop and listen to my partner. I ask about his days and hear his elaborate stories. I plan date nights once weekly, and family outings once monthly. Sometimes I stay awake an extra hour or two to squeeze in a movie on easier nights. One special thing I do for my partner is I call every morning on my way to work, I call on my way home from work, and I call when I'm having lunch so they always feel included in my day, and so they are aware I am thinking of them.

Being Present in the moment at work

Now, when I say being present in the moment I do not only mean at home. I also am present in the moment at work. I try my best to remain focused on the task at hand, I try not to text at work unless I have down time, and I use any downtime at work to chart and finish up forgotten or lingering tasks before I resort to texting. One thing that can also be beneficial is establishing work relationships. Don't be afraid to mingle with your co-workers, it often times helps the day go by faster. However, I always warn to proceed with caution, Beware the co-worker who never has a good work to say about anyone, because trust me, they have nothing good to say about you either. In truth its all about finding your kin-folk in the work place and keeping that relationship strictly at work. Another thing to keep in mind is to never be afraid to lean on a good co-worker. In medicine we still always have so much to learn.

Together Now!

One way I incorporate balancing both is being open to extra days on the schedule, but always running the extra days by my partner so that they know they have a voice. I compromise. Sometimes I will take extra days, other times I will not. I let my partner know my schedule in advance and I communicate any upcoming events to my place of work so that they will have the time to find coverage. I am aware that not every job will have this flexibility, and because of this I implore you to take my tactics with a grain of salt. As it is said what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.

What about me?

With this balancing act, you may be wondering what I do for me, and when I make time to please only myself. The answer to that is very complicated because I'm still learning. While I do everything I can to please others, I also listen to my body. If I am feeling burned out or overly exhausted I communicate the need for me time. I have recently learned that treating myself is also the way. Treating myself to a nap during lunch time sometimes instead of calling my partner, treating myself to a new hair style. Treating myself to days of relaxation and doing absolutely nothing to combat stimulus overload. Like everyone who is balancing these things I do find myself worn thin and I am always looking for tips on how to treat myself and balance work and home life more efficiently

In conclusion

Balancing work and home life is not easy, and often times can feel like walking on a tight rope. Balancing these things take real skill and practice and is not mastered on the first try. So cut yourself some slack, I do, because it is known that a career in health care is definitely not easy. It is a challenge all on it's own let alone managing a family and giving your family the care they need. Please feel free to contact me and tell me how you manage work and home life!

How Do you Treat yourself?

  • Night on the town

  • Self Care

  • Spending time with Loved ones

  • Sleeping! Duh

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