Work/Life Balance in Residency

Hello my lovely people! I know that it’s been a long time since I’ve been on here. I have been very busy with getting adjusted to residency, moving, and planning a wedding. But now that things are a little bit more settled, I’m ready to sit down and chat about how I’ve been handling all of the changes that have come my way in the last few months. 

As some of you might know, I am a first-year pediatric resident. I went to medical school in Alabama and, then, matched for residency in Oklahoma. So pretty much right after graduation, I had to pack my bags and drive halfway across the country and try and get settled in a new location. I love my new home and I love my program but moving definitely added a little bit of stress before starting residency. My fiancé and I threw out all of our furniture before moving and so we basically were starting from scratch. At the time that I’m writing this post, we have accumulated pretty much all of our furniture and our home decor is on fire (if I do say so myself)! If you’re interested in seeing some of the looks that I put together (thanks to Wayfair and HomeGoods), check out my Instagram stories highlight. Like I said, we love it in Tulsa but residency is an all fun, games, and home decor. It’s been a lot of work and it’s taken a while for us to know how to balance everything.

So far, in residency, I have had a developmental pediatric month, two outpatient pediatric months, a pediatric emergency medicine month, and a month of in patient peds. Each rotation brings something different and requires something unique of you. Also Bae and I are in residency together. The same specialty. The same program. And so, just as it was in medical school, the stresses that I feel can affect him and vice versa. 

My tips for work life balance (and for keeping your sanity) in residency comes down to scheduling. Schedule time for work. Schedule time for play. Schedule time for you. Of course in residency, we are given a schedule for our work hours. We are told when we have to show up, go home, and be on call. I’m not talking about deviating from that schedule. I’m talking about realizing that work has to be done and not stressing about how much of it you have to do. Once you have that scheduled, work time into your agenda or your planner or your iPhone calendar for other things. You can now look at all the other times that are available and decide what you’re going to do with that “free time.” I but quotation marks there because, to me, free time is a fallacy. You literally have to schedule your time or you will waste it. 

One thing that I learned while I was on pediatric emergency medicine was that once I left the hospital I needed to leave my hospital problems behind me. I have now promised myself that if I had a bad day or if a patient coded or if a patient’s parent was rude to me, I would deal with my emotions in my car, IN THE PARKING LOT and then leave it all behind once I leave the lot. The gate to the parking structure is literally like a magic veil that flips the switch between my work and my life. 

So you’ve left the parking structure…how do you schedule time for play? It’s as simple as “when I get home I’m going to watch a movie with my fiancé” or “this weekend I’m going to hang out with my friends (who are also in residency and have super busy lives).” It doesn’t need to be anything super big or super expensive. It just needs to be purposeful. If you don’t plan it then you’ll probably end up on the couch wishing that you had done XYZ with your weekend. Of course you’re not trying to let your residency duties slip because of a movie night, but I want you all to stay sane. That’s what wellness is all about. 

Lastly, it’s also important to schedule time for YOU. Me Time is very important! This is the time that you’re away from coworkers, friends, and even family. This is honestly the best time when you can even get away from pets. My fiancé and I live together and we still have Me Time. He likes to play video games and I like to watch makeup videos and work on my Instagram. There’s nothing wrong with spending time alone to recharge and submerge yourself in the things that make you feel happy and make YOU smile. Take yourself on a date, go for a walk, or get a massage. Take care of yourself first. If you can’t take care of yourself then you can’t be fully there for your loved ones OR YOUR PATIENTS. 

I was lucky enough to have Thanksgiving off this year and that also meant I wasn’t working on my birthday, November 25! I had a great birthday filled with “Me Time.” My birthday dinner dress was also a dream and a hit on social media. If you’re interested, it’s the Tania Sequin Dress from Fashionnova! 

I’m also in the last few weeks before my wedding. I’m so excited to be married and also super excited to create content for you guys around planning a wedding. It’s been stressful at points but I have an awesome wedding planner and a phenomenal team with my mother and maid of honor. So they’ve helped turn wedding planning into a form of Me Time. Like I said, there will be content coming soon surrounding the process but, in the meanwhile, check out our wedding website, everafteralvernaz.com. Let me know if there’s anything you want to see in particular from my blog/Instagram/youtube (no, I haven’t abandoned my YouTube channel)!

I love you guys so much and I hope this post was helpful. Schedule your time wisely and make the most out of your days at work/in residency. Please feel free to like, comment, and share. Until next time…xoxo lovelies!

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