By: Dr. Lauren Hedde
As parent to a 5-month-old baby boy and 2 1/2-year-old daughter, I am familiar with the juggling act many working parents face on a daily basis. A typical day for me might be spending the first third of the day in the office seeing patients, the next third stopping off for a home visit on my way home, and the last third at home with my kids. The life of a working parent, in this day and age of internet-bliss (or doom?), involves taking our work anywhere we go. But in all of it sometimes we all find ourselves wondering – “do I have the right balance?”
Here are some tips on managing the stress that can come with “doing it all” and trying to do it all well!
1. Put your phone down: As a doctor who offers 24/7 availability to all of my patients, my phone is my friend. It is attached to me like life support and I find it very hard to put it down. But, I’ve been working on parting with it for chunks of time. Even if you put it on the counter in your kitchen and go to another room to have dinner with your family – you will hear it if you need to, but the incessant finger swiping to check for new emails can be left for later.
2. Schedule email checks: Again, that swipe or tap of a finger is all too tempting with the phone in your hand. When you’re home trying to spend some quality quiet time with friends, schedule hourly check-ins. Review your email account at 9 pm and 10 pm – not every 30 seconds in between.
3. Prioritize and postpone: If you happen to notice a few emails have arrived after your designated work hours and you see them during your hourly check-in, now is the time to set your self-boundaries. If you reply to people on non-urgent matters after business hours routinely, that will become what is expected of you. Now, I certainly understand the need to reply in a timely manner and to reply immediately when urgent – but let’s be honest, your text tapping fingers get itchy to respond even when you know full well something can wait. Try to set that goal for yourself – hold non-urgent replies to regular hours and feel the stress melt away!
4. Always make time for “me time”: The kids need you, your wife or husband is calling, you have to help with mom today, and the list goes on. Without YOU, you can’t do any of those things. Schedule that massage, take a one-hour pure barre class, visit the local library – whatever it is that recharges you – do it! You and all your dependents will love you for it.
It can be done and we all do it – but make sure while you’re doing it all, you set yourself up for success – not just in your business, but in your health and well-being!
Dr. Lauren Hedde DO is accepting new patients at Direct Doctors family practice in North Kingstown. Dr. Hedde offers 24/7 access, no waiting, same day visits, home visits, and a doctor who knows you well! Check out the Direct Doctors difference at www.directdoctors.org.