Work/life Balance as a PCCM Fellow

Dr. Talayeh Rezayat

June 26, 2015

This post is a part of our Life as a Fellow blog post series. This series includes "fellow life lessons" from members of the Training and Transitions Committee Trainee Work group, who are current trainees in leadership with CHEST. 

Did you always want to be a pulmonary and critical care doctor? That is a question I am often asked. The answer is no, I didn’t. I was intrigued by my anatomy class and fascinated by the intricacies of human physiology that drew me to medicine.  During internal medicine training, I realized how much I enjoy caring for the sickest patients. The high physical and mental demand was never a burden, rather a privilege to fight for someone’s life, someone’s loved one and to ensure I give my patients the best chance at fighting their disease. 

I wake up every day excited and look forward to what my patients will teach me. If I don’t pay attention, my work can take all the hours of the day I am awake and, before you know it, the day has ended. The trick is balance in work and life. My life and health are gifts given to me, and I appreciate these more through my work. I know well that if I am not at my best, I certainly cannot function at my best for those I care for. This requires some planning and discipline.

Once a week, on my day off, I pick out at least three healthy recipes with a balance of fruits, vegetables, protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Magazines like Cooking Light make this easy and have introduced me to a variety of new recipes. I try to avoid processed foods and snacks on a regular basis, but that does not mean I don’t take pleasure in indulging in some junk food here and there. It’s what I do the majority of the time that gives me that stamina to keep going without feeling sluggish or fatigued. To complement my eating habits, I make sure to exercise at least three times weekly.

I know well that if I am not at my best, I certainly cannot function at my best for those I care for. This requires some planning and discipline.

Exercise has so many positive effects on me: it increases my endorphins that keep me happy and energized all day long; it keeps my body in excellent health; and it boosts my metabolism, keeping me fit and feeling strong. I pretty much feel like a superhero! After all, how can one teach healthy living habits if one does not practice them? Occasionally, work is not forgiving, and the challenges in the hospital do not allow for execution of this perfect plan. I accept that it is okay to skip and modify my plan, because what is most important is reaching a balance between work and life.

This keeps me happy and healthy at home and eager to go back to work every day to improve the quality of life and health of those I’m privileged to care for.

Talayeh RezayatTalayeh Rezayat is a third year pulmonary and critical care fellow in the clinician educator track at the University of California in Los Angeles. She is an officer in the United States Air Force and completed her internal medicine residency at Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi, MS after obtaining Doctor of Osteopathy and Masters in Public Health degrees from Des Moines University. At UCLA she has become interested in ultrasound simulation training and research. She plans to use her skillset to return to military duty following her training.

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