Canadian Federation of
Medical Students

Social/Relationship Wellness

Social/ Relationship Wellness 2020

To access the material from 2019, please see this link

Tips to help balance the different priorities in your life

By Huaying (Helen) Zhao, University of Alberta 2021
Physician well-being and burnout are hot topics that have received substantial attention in recent years. With the statistics quite alarming (an estimate of 50% of physicians feel burnout), it is clear that finding overall life balance should start early, even during our medical education. Spending most of our time at the hospital or clinic or school than we do anywhere else in a week, it seems like a daunting, almost impossible task, to incorporate other activities into our lives. It is important that in the process of promoting wellness in others, we do not forget about ourselves. Here are some tips to hopefully help you start thinking about how to achieve a better balance in your life.
Prioritization Identifying your priorities in life is the foundation of this process. For some, it could be academics, family & friends, and skiing in the winter months. For others, it could be their children, soccer, and then academics. Regardless of what makes up our own priority lists, by listing them down, we can then successfully incorporate it into our lives. Because, let’s be real, if we don’t set time out for something, we won’t end up doing it. A simplified example of potential components of life to consider is listed below. Time Management We each have 168 absolute hours per week to divide between work, ourselves and others. We cannot magically create more time; it’s important to accept that it's a sliding scale of division of time. As one component rises in our priorities, another aspect will need to take a back seat. As life continues, our sliding scale can change. For instance, in early training, we may prioritize our careers and learning over other aspects of our life. However, over time, things like starting a family and children may emerge into our lives. In those years, work may take a back seat. Finally, once we reach a point where we have reached a certain stability in our lives, we may find our priorizations have changed. We need to continually reflect and reassess how we are doing. The scale we create is adjustable and we should learn to listen to our own bodies (mentally and physically).
Applications for calendar creation I am pretty old school, and enjoy using my google calendar to organize my time. I create different calendars for school/clerkship, my extracurriculars/hobbies, and social time spent with family and friends. Finally, there is one calendar for necessary chores and tasks (e.g. cooking, laundry, buying groceries, eating). Don’t be afraid to have blank spots on your calendar! Not every time needs to be scheduled in. Besides that, I usually make a daily to-do list to split up each chunk of time into more specific tasks.