How to Maintain Balance During Residency?

The 3 years you spend during your surgical residency are some of the most important years of your training.  You may be able to recite McGlamrys from all of your studying in school, but now you get to apply everything you been taught. Residency, no matter the specialty, can be taxing, both physically and mentally.  Being on call, never truly falling into that deep sleep, just waiting for your pager to buzz at 2 AM can take a toll.  Early mornings rounding, late nights in the ER, being on call over holidays, can place stress on you and your relationships faster than you think!  Taking time for you is important to help balance a least a portion of the craziness. 

Find your out.  Find something that you enjoy doing, that has nothing to do with work!  Maybe it’s a church league baseball, or an evening yoga class, maybe its pottery or photography, or maybe if you’re my husband it’s a late night video game!  Find something that gives you an out and is all about enjoyment and fun.

Make a schedule and stick to it.  Schedule your study time.  Schedule your journal clubs. Schedule your academics. But after you’ve scheduled out what is important for work, schedule in your “you” time! 

Get some sleep. 8 hours is ideal and most of us do not get that! While you’re making your schedule, go ahead and schedule in sleep too!  A brain cannot function “soley” on coffee, it needs some zzz’s too.

Make the most of your relationships.  Spend time with people, besides your patients.

Breath!  Residency may only be three years, but finding your perfect work/life balance now will save your mental and physical health over the next 35 years of practice! 

Gina M. Tomsho, DPM, AACFAS
Barberton Podiatry, Inc