November 21, 2016

How do you keep healthy?

Perspective! The demands and the desire for “balance” between my professional career and personal life are a constant challenge, but maintaining a healthy perspective on the priorities in my life has helped to insure good physical, emotional, and mental health. I try to live my life first in my commitment to my God, my husband, our children, and our family, and with this perspective, I am able to deliver the optimal caring for others in my professional and personal settings.

What is one thing you do to maintain work-life balance?

Accepting that “work-life balance” does not truly exist. Many of us are in pursuit of this idealistic goal and I personally feel that our hectic careers and personal lives are constantly in flux and these two moving targets never do intersect. I prefer to use the term “work-life prioritization” where I am constantly changing my priorities based on my deadlines and responsibilities while ensuring that I keep the channels of communication open with my husband. By always keeping each other in check, we can readjust our priorities to support one another. As well, through regular self-reflection, I often try to determine if my registered “priorities” in terms of time and effort match personal goals and deliver a desirable joy between personal and professional time.

What is the biggest challenge that you face in maintaining your work-life balance?

Not feeling guilty when I am at work and not feeling guilty when I am at home. The biggest challenge for me is the philosophical importance I place on maintaining an effective “balance” between my personal and professional life. However, reality and philosophy are sometimes a difficult combination; I am challenged daily to determine which commitments I can accept in light of my philosophical priorities. While this remains a difficult reality for me, I live my life with intention and I strive to remember that my personal life must remain my primary priority because I am of little value to anyone in medicine if I am not content with my personal life.

What is the best advice you have received to maintain your wellness?

I believe the best advice I have ever received to maintain personal wellness has been demonstrated through action and words by very significant others throughout my life.  Today I am in fact a product of my past. My personal life journey began as a five-year-old fleeing Vietnam without my parents, and then contracting and fighting tuberculosis for two years in a refugee camp.  Life is a privilege and in my case, granted to me by my parents in Vietnam, by those working in the United Nations camp, by the Canadian immigration officials, and lastly, by the Canadians who welcomed me, supported me and loved me without any conditions. Words and actions of love without demands became the great lesson for me, and the key to my future, each and every day as a child and as an adult. Life driven with love and support enables me to reach out to others at home and beyond and this is what drives me each and every day!