Work-life balance refers to your ability to balance academic, professional and personal life demands effectively. It plays a crucial role in maintaining energy levels, avoiding burnout and improving health outcomes.
Students pursuing medical degrees often struggle to balance the demands of study with working, caring for family members and meeting other obligations. Achieve a healthy work-life balance requires planning ahead and employing effective time management strategies.
Researchers have reported that striking an effective balance between study and work can result in reduced stress levels, improved sleep quality and greater satisfaction with life. Conversely, an imbalanced work-life balance has been linked with feelings of anxiety or depression as well as decreased mental health status and an increase in substance misuse.
Management of work and social life requires excellent communication skills, including learning to say no when necessary. Furthermore, prioritising self-care means you spend enough time doing activities you enjoy; if balancing both aspects is becoming difficult for you, revisit your priorities and consider making changes accordingly.
This study seeks to explore student experiences and perspectives regarding work-life balance during medical studies. A sample of full-time medical students were interviewed via an online questionnaire; responses were then analysed for key themes.
The results from the questionnaire were then compared with semi-structured interviews conducted with a subgroup of students to identify additional contributors to work-life balance.
Poor time management was often to blame for poor work-life balance among students, with them failing to effectively plan tasks or allocate enough study time – leading them to scramble last minute for exams or assignments, making their performance worse than it otherwise might have been. In order to avoid this scenario, it is essential that you stay organized and track deadlines using a calendar or list. Doing this will enable you to allocate enough time per task without feeling pressured into doing too much too quickly – something which rushed projects cannot achieve. Exercise and relaxation into your daily routine for physical and mental wellbeing. Also try limiting screen time whenever possible in order to avoid too much unnecessary information, delegate tasks when possible and seek assistance when needed – these all contribute to creating a better work-life balance.