Finding the Balance Between Work and Life in Healthcare

Matt Brewster


Professionals in a number of different fields experience stress and burnout, and struggle with finding the equivalent of the Holy Grail in modern work life – the seemingly ever elusive and almighty work-life balance. But few working adults will experience the consistent stress and burnout endemic to the medical and healthcare profession. According to recent studies, physician burnout is a growing epidemic that jeopardizes practitioner and patient safety and well-being.

So if the idea of finding work-life balance sounds like something for Yoga or Pilates instructors, think again. Prioritizing your mental and emotional health and finding a healthy balance between your life in and outside of work is more important for healthcare workers than any other field. Here are a few tips to help you stay sane, healthy and productive while continuing to offer excellent patient care and services and taking care of yourself in the process.

Living Your Life While Saving Lives: Work-Life Balance for Healthcare Workers and Medical Professionals

The demands of work and family can make it difficult, if not next to impossible, for healthcare workers to have a life outside of work. If you are the type of person who finds it difficult to invest in leisure activities or making an effort to unplug and relax, consider it a gift to your patients and colleagues. A stressed out and unhappy healthcare worker is not a productive or effective worker, which can have serious consequences for patients as well as hospitals and healthcare organizations.

Make Time to Take Time (for Yourself and the Things and People You Love)

Time can be difficult to manage under the best of circumstances, but when you work in healthcare, your time is at a premium. Without a disciplined effort, making time for yourself can quickly – and permanently – end up on the backburner to the detriment of your health and career. Start small and begin by scheduling short breaks throughout the day to take a walk, read a book or magazine (try to avoid additional screen time), or meditate. Once the concept of taking regular breaks begins to feel natural, work your way up to scheduling a few hours every week to socialize with friends and family, or practice a new or neglected hobby or activity you find enjoyable and relaxing.

Make a Self-Care Checklist

Essentials like a healthy diet, exercise, and preventive medical care are universal necessities which should not be ignored. But part of maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is to invest in the activities that are important to you, whether that includes monthly dinners with family and friends, playing tennis once a week, or taking a trip out of the country once or twice a year. If you find yourself missing too many things that are important to you for too many weeks or months in a row, it’s time to take a break.

Find Support

A network of supportive friends, family and peers is the cornerstone of mental health, well-being, and personal happiness. If you don’t already have a strong and reliable network in place, consider joining professional and social organizations, and seek professional help if you become overwhelmed or your stress becomes unmanageable. Like most problems, stress and burnout are much easier to treat and manage before the symptoms become too overwhelming.

Don’t Compromise Your Career or Life Goals

Achieving your personal standard of work-life balance begins with finding a position and organization that best suit your career and lifestyle values and goals. Contact us today to speak to one of our healthcare recruiters and learn more about rewarding healthcare and medical careers.