When the line between your professional and personal life starts to blur, it’s not uncommon to notice feelings of burnout. That’s why it’s important to take opportunities to unwind, rest and regroup before putting on the white coat again.
But work-life balance is more than simply taking adequate time off; it’s a healthy mixture of work, quality rest and relaxation and maximizing the rest of your time away from the office.
For some, it’s achieved by enjoying days off or time outside practice with family, friends or participating in a favorite hobby or activity. Regardless, your options are the result of one detail that ripples into many other aspects of your lifestyle: location.
A true balance between work and life is struck by spending time off in a way that helps you connect to yourself apart from your identity as a physician or advanced practice provider.
You are a provider, but you may also be a spouse, mother or father, daughter or son, a nature lover or city dweller. The key is to determine potential locations that could be as personally fulfilling as they are professionally. But how, and where do you begin?
Asking the right questions
Of course, choosing a place to live isn’t determined by just one factor – like pursuing your side passion for rock climbing. That’s certainly something to keep in mind, but you’ll want to think about the big picture and how your many preferences can come together.
When thinking about other aspects of location, ask yourself these questions:
- Where do I feel most like me? In nature? A big city?
- How do I enjoy spending my free time if it’s not at home?
- What kind of hobbies do I enjoy, and are they only possible in a certain location or climate?
- With whom do I enjoy spending my free time?
- What does my ideal Saturday look like? What am I doing, where am I going and who am I seeing?
- What’s my initial reaction to living in an urban area? What about rural?
- Do I have a family, or plan on starting a family anytime soon? What would a location need to have to accommodate them?
- Do I have a partner who needs to live in a certain area to pursue their personal and professional goals?
Notice which of these questions stand out to you and make note of them.
Determining your priorities
It might help to create a list of items and rank them based on importance in regard to where you’ll practice.
You can compare factors like your desire for nearby hobbies or activities vs. living close to certain friends or family members. Or your interest in a family-friendly city vs. your draw to regions of certain populations and sizes. Then, you can seek job opportunities that appeal to those preferences or priorities and narrow down which satisfy the majority.
For example, if finding a family-friendly city and nearby access to plenty of outdoor recreation activities are your two “musts,” do some digging online. A simple search like, “Family-friendly cities for nature enthusiasts” can open you up to a variety of locations that could give you the best of both worlds. From there, you’ll know where you want to focus your job hunt.
If you can determine where you’d love to live, you’re not only a step closer to finding relevant career moves, but also to securing a fulfilling work-life balance.