For healthy life-work balance, prioritize your free time. At least as much as you value your productivity during your work week. R&R cannot be over-rated.
So, how do you relax during your “down” time? Finding things you can do, exciting or relaxing, is an important part of your daily life. Identify things you can do – a half hour, an hour, an afternoon, a day, a weekend, a week. Make as long a list as you can. Then, make a point of doing them.
Exploring Near Home
Now, as a locum tenens provider, during your “off” week(s), you may only be interested in a “staycation.” Worse, you may only have time to be home with your family. Catching up on everything you missed during your week away. If you decide on a “staycation,” be certain that you’ve cleared the decks of anything else. Turn off your work phone, avoid your computer, focus on your family.
For this off-week, though, pull out a good, old-fashioned, unfold-on-a-table map. You may even want to pull out a drawing compass. You know you still have one – that math tool from grade school to draw a circle. Measure 200 miles on the distance key, and draw a circle around your hometown.
A weekend is all the time your family has free from school or work? No problem. Let each member of the family choose something within that circle and go there. Your schedule determines how much research you do. It’s your choice! Try out new places each time. Create different experiences and memories.
Traveling a Little Farther
Alternatively, consider taking a vacation within 200 miles of your assignment, especially if you travel to another state to work your locum tenens assignment. If they didn’t relocate with you, your family may have no idea what your life is like there. Allow them a glimpse of it. Kids, especially, like to be able to imagine where Mom or Dad goes each week.
Instead of flying or driving home, have them come to you. Show them around your hospital, clinic or facility. Introduce them to some of the key people that make your life easier on a daily basis.
Then, go explore. You can use the 200-mile example above. Or ask your colleagues for suggestions. If you’re working in Phoenix, try Sedona. If you work in Virginia, go to Washington, DC. If you work in Little Rock, go out to the Hot Springs or the nuclear plant. Texas? Go to the next nearest big city and play tourist. State or National Parks provide excellent opportunities for family time.
And when you’re ready for the big, blow out vacation? Decide whether you’d like rest and relaxation. Go to the beach. Adventure? Climb a mountain or the Sky Tower. History? Check out Washington, D.C., Boston, or Europe between assignments. Making this decision, you’ll have a better idea how you want to spend your time.
Personally, we’ve done New Year’s at Scotland’s Hogmanay, then taken a tour of the Highlands. We’ve also done five weeks in Oceania, visiting Sydney, Cairns, and Melbourne, Australia. Then Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Nelson, Queenstown, and Dunedin. Then up to the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Glorious.
With this new flexibility in your locum tenens schedule, you can choose a skill you’d like to improve. South American Photography trip to Macchu Pichu anyone?
When you spend the time to make your “off” week as important to creating memories for your family as important as your “on” week caring for your patients and making money, everybody wins.