physicians balancing on a scale to achieve work-life balance as a physician candidate
physicians balancing on a scale to achieve work-life balance as a physician candidate

5 ways to achieve work-life balance as a physician candidate

Read articles by Jackie Farley
Jackie Farley

Table of Contents

As a physician candidate, you are on the cusp of beginning a rewarding but demanding journey. The road ahead promises intellectual stimulation, patient care and professional growth. But it is essential to remember to nurture your personal life and passions while navigating the challenges and rigors of the medical field. Work-life balance isn’t just a buzzword but a critical aspect of preserving your physical and mental well-being and preventing burnout. Here are five key strategies to achieve work-life balance as a physician candidate, finding fulfillment in your work and developing hobbies that can help enrich life outside of medicine.

  1. Prioritize self-care

Practicing self-care doesn’t mean you’re being selfish. As a physician candidate, it is vital to prioritize your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Create time in your schedule to incorporate regular exercise, adopt healthy eating habits and allow sufficient time for sleep in your routine. Set boundaries to protect your personal time and give yourself time to destress and recharge.

  1. Define your values and goals

Clarify what success means to you beyond professional achievements. Consider your values and long-term goals for not only your career but also your personal life. Are you striving for meaningful connections with patients? What do you want work-life balance to look like for you? How heavily will financial stability affect your career and schedule choices? Your actions should align with your values if you want to foster a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

  1. Cultivate resilience

Medicine is an incredibly demanding field with its fair share of challenges and setbacks. By developing coping strategies to navigate stress and adversity effectively, you cultivate a certain level of resilience. You can do this by creating a support network of mentors, peers, family and friends; adopting a growth mindset that views obstacles as opportunities for growth; and practicing mindfulness.

  1. Engage in meaningful work

Connecting with the deeper purpose behind your work can reignite your motivation and sense of fulfillment. Find ways to inject meaning and purpose into your medical career. This can be done by interacting more with patients, involving yourself in research, becoming an advocate for underserved communities or seeking out opportunities that resonate with your values and passions.

  1. Find hobbies and interests outside of medicine

While medicine may be a huge part of your personal identity, it’s essential to maintain a diverse range of hobbies and interests outside of your professional life. Engaging in activities such as painting, cooking, hiking, writing, golfing or playing musical instruments not only provides an outlet for creativity and relaxation, but it also fosters a sense of balance while giving you a different type of fulfillment than practicing medicine.


The bottom line is that physician candidates can achieve a work-life balance while finding fulfillment in their careers. At times, that may require intentional effort and self-awareness. Remember your career is an ongoing journey, so be patient with yourself. Embracing the detours with a sense of adventure and celebrating the small victories along the way will make the trip far more enjoyable.

Read articles by Jackie Farley

Jackie Farley

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