I found myself at a pivotal point in my life’s journey.
For one thing, I was a medical student who was always busy. Everything I did was focused on school, clinical rotations, and my never-ending quest for personal improvement.
On the flip side of the coin was the idea of minimalism, which caught my attention during a late-night YouTube binge.
The concept of sacrificing more to experience more happiness sounded like a lifeline I badly wanted to hold on to.
My search for inner peace and harmony had officially begun.
The Workaholic Medical Student’s Confession
I’ll be the first to confess that I actively sought to become a workaholic.
My parents instilled in me the value of hard work and made it clear that failure was not an option.
My parents taught me the value of working assiduously to accomplish my objectives, and I internalized this lesson.
My determination to succeed got greater as I navigated the difficult world of medical school.
I believed that if I could only find the next great opportunity, research project, or excellent score, I would finally feel whole and happy.
Before I knew it, I was devoted every waking hour to my studies, ignoring my relationships, and forgetting what it was like to have interests or hobbies outside of medicine.
I discovered minimalism during one of my numerous all-night study sessions.
The internet was flooded with videos and articles about this lifestyle fad, and the concept of using less to do more immediately piqued my interest.
De-cluttering one’s mental and emotional space was equally as important as doing the same for one’s physical area when it came to minimalism.
This way of thinking struck a chord with me, and I started to wonder whether adopting a minimalist lifestyle may be the cure for my workaholism.
Maybe this might help me find the equilibrium I’ve been seeking.
The Experiment Begins
I chose to experiment with minimalism by stripping down my immediate environment.
- I got rid of everything I didn’t need in my dorm room.
- I gave away clothes, books, and other things I no longer needed.
- The process was freeing, but it also revealed how much I had relied on worldly items to fill the gap in my life.
Then I started thinking about the dismal state of my work-life equilibrium.
- In the beginning, I limited the amount of time I spent on social media and email to devote more time to studying.
- Furthermore, I attempted to get back in touch with old acquaintances and relatives, and to resume some of the activities that I had previously enjoyed but had let go of.
Surprisingly, these small changes made a big difference in my overall health and happiness.
Now I feel less anxious and more in command of my circumstances.
As I became more minimalist, I saw that my academic success and pleasure weren’t the only things that mattered in life.
Striking a Balance
When I learned more about minimalism, I saw some interesting parallels between it and the concept of balance.
Prioritizing what really matters and letting go of the things that don’t are key to both ideas.
For me, this meant accepting that my pursuit of a medical degree was simply one part of my whole life story. To live a happy and balanced life, I needed to make time for my relationships, my interests, and my mental health.
When I embraced this new perspective, I found myself enjoying my medical studies more than ever before. In its place, I was taking the time to enjoy the ride and celebrate my victories along the way. I was no longer drowning in textbooks and stress.
The progress I’ve achieved so far has been amazing, but my path to a balanced existence as a medical student is far from done.
- Adopting a minimalist lifestyle has shown me that I can pursue my goals without letting them compromise my health or the values that matter most to me.
- The trick is to establish a happy medium where I can develop my career, my interests, and myself simultaneously.
- The more I study and develop, the more I realize that finding a healthy equilibrium is not the end goal, but rather an ongoing process of self-exploration and development.
- Challenges and hurdles will always be there, especially in the rigorous field of medicine, but I now have the resources and outlook to deal with them in a more productive and long-term manner.
If you, like me, are a medical student or anybody else who is finding it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance, I highly recommend looking into minimalism and the notion of finding a happy medium.
It may not be the answer to everything, but it may certainly help you grow and develop as a person.
Keep in mind that the pursuit of a well-rounded existence is a marathon, not a sprint and that any forward progress is commendable.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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