A New Clinician’s Perspective On Work-life Balance

Dr. Andrew Krause, ND Ottawa Fullscript

By Dr. Andrew Krause, ND

After starting a private practice, Dr. Andrew Krause, ND realized that a new balanced lifestyle was needed to help him be successful in providing care to his patients and in focusing on his family. In this article, Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Krause shares his work-life balance tips and gives insights on the habits he has established for self-care.

“Running a business wasn’t the reason I wanted to be an ND.”

Stone on top of one another to show balance

Finding practitioners that have similar values, and experiences has really helped build out my support network for business, clinical, and personal situations.

I was driven to work in a profession that let me build strong relationships with my patients, and covered a wide range of health topics and lifestyle medicine strategies. I’ll admit, coming into the program, I didn’t do my due diligence to properly understand just how much of a business owner I would have to be, and how much it would occupy my day to day thoughts. It took a period of adjustment, but it’s now one of the more exciting (albeit sometimes frustrating) aspects of my career, as I’m learning to manage marketing, operations, HR, finance, and legal activities related to my practice, as well as, the actual delivery of evidence-based, compassionate, and effective clinical care for my patients.

I soak up resources like Meghan Walker’s Clinician Business Labs, Dr. Kalish’s content, and speak to as many practitioners that I can, to try to learn from their experiences. Finding practitioners that have similar values and have gone through similar experiences has really helped build out my support network for business, clinical, and personal situations. Without the colleagues that have been so supportive, I would have many more gray hairs than I already do!

My wife and I both went to ND school together, but we have very different ways that we achieve balance. I always look up to her ability to prioritize self-care despite life getting busy around her; I continue to learn from her every single day in this regard. It’s one of my larger struggles personally, albeit knowing how to support patients that are seeking the very same thing. You know that saying about how the general contractor’s house is always the one in shambles? Sometimes my lack of self-care can feel like that. I spend a lot of time prioritizing other people’s wellbeing, without putting the same value on my own. Of all the ways I can develop as a practitioner, setting better boundaries is likely the most important professionally (and definitely personally).

We are new parents to a wonderful 8-month-old at home, which has led us to structure our work-life in the way that we have. 12 months ago, it was a completely different ballgame! My wife is an associate at a practice two days a week, and I split time between working remotely for Fullscript full-time, building a corporate wellness company with some colleagues, and one day a week of practice. Luckily, our schedules ensure that one of us is able to be at home with our daughter for childcare every single day, and we can both develop in our careers as we see fit at the same time.

As I mentioned before, my constant challenge is setting appropriate boundaries and not answering patient emails at all hours of the night/weekend when I don’t have to. But, I’m also driven to provide as high a level of care as possible. I know the self-imposed need to answer quickly at all times is short-term thinking, since stretching my time/values/abilities makes me less able to contribute to my patients in the longer term–it’s a work in progress.

Dr. Andrew Krause ND Headshot

“My energy throughout the rest of the day is more consistent if I move in the morning!”

“The integrative medicine community is very willing to support one another, and it’s something for which I’m always grateful.”

While I was at a conference this summer, I had our at the time 5-month-old in a baby carrier when a fellow ND came up to me and started talking with me about how he and his wife (also an ND) have balanced childcare and practice between the two of them. It was a really heartening experience that emphasized that we have so much to offer one another in terms of support and that we don’t always have to trailblaze the path on our own.

Here are some things I’m working towards to prioritize balance and self-care:

    • Every morning: non-negotiable. Even if just 5 minutes on a busy day.
      • My energy throughout the rest of the day is more consistent if I move in the morning, and I will often have some bouts of creativity while I am walking/exercising in the morning.
      • At a minimum, I go on a brisk walk while I’m listening to a podcast, or do a 5-10 minute kettlebell interval circuit. This is my usual circuit:
      • 4-5 rounds of:
        • 10 2-hand Kettlebell Swings
        • 10 1-hand Kettlebell Swings per side
        • 10 Kettlebell Cleans per side
        • 10 Kettlebell Shoulder Presses per side
    • >2.5 L water per day
      • Practicing what I preach is particularly difficult for me when it comes to drinking enough water. I carry a 1.2L bottle around with me at all times and aim to have at least 2 bottles a day. I don’t always get there, but I know I feel my best when I do.
    • Protein and a hearty (>750 calorie) breakfast before 7 in the morning
      • Work days can be busy, and I don’t always do the best job of feeding myself between work/patients. By having a heartier breakfast, I’m able to last longer by starting the day with a breakfast that provides lots of energy.
    • Make sure I have ready to eat snacks in my office.
      • I have a bag of trail mix and a box of protein bars at my desk so hunger doesn’t limit me from feeding myself during the day.
    • Only water and pumpkin seeds after 7pm.
    • I tend to be a snacker (often because I don’t prioritize my feeding throughout the day) which can lead me to be hungry in the evening. Most of the time in the evening, I’m not truly hungry for calories, so I make sure that my first step is to drink water to try to abate the hunger, and then have some protein/fiber/fat/salt in the form of salted pumpkin seeds. If I’m still hungry after that, then I have a meal as opposed to other snack foods.
    • Seeing practitioners for my own physical/mental wellbeing, and trying not to treat myself for wellness + optimal health goals.
    • Family dinner whenever we are at home together, with phones away from the table.
    • No phone/social media time on Sunday mornings for 4 hours. This is a small step towards a larger intention to be more present when I’m outside of work hours for family, friends, and my own self-care
    • My goal is to only answer emails between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. If I don’t try to keep to this boundary, I find myself thinking about work through the entire day even when I should be resting and recovering from the day.
      • I turn off my notifications/alerts for my email apps on my phone so I’m less tempted to attend to the emails that are in the account. I’m not quite ready to delete the apps from my phone just yet, but that’s certainly another way to accomplish this as well.

About Dr. Andrew Krause, ND

Dr. Andrew Krause, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in private practice in Kitchener and Mississauga Ontario, Canada. In addition to his education in Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Krause is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Sports Nutritionist, and yoga instructor.

In his practice, Dr. Krause works with individuals and teams to improve their health and performance, and lectures across Eastern Canada on the topic of natural health product regulation, sports nutrition, and behavioral psychology. Dr. Krause is a Senior Medical Advisor for Fullscript, and in his spare time, he bakes sourdough bread from scratch.