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Healthy Balance

UVA Doctors at Play: How A Mom Finds Work-Life Balance

February is National Heart Month, and throughout the month we’re profiling some UVA doctors who embrace activities that keep them healthy and young at heart.

Dr. Lyons staying young at heart
Elizabeth Lyons, MD, and her son love to play outside for fun and exercise.

Work-Life Balance: Play is the Answer

Like many of us, primary care doctor Elizabeth Lyons, MD, not only has a busy, full-time job; she’s also a mother.

Which means, when Lyons advises her patients to exercise and de-stress as part of their health regime, she knows exactly how challenging following that advice can be. She shared with us how she finds time to manage the competing priorities of health, work and family, and how incorporating play helps her balance and integrate them all.

Making Family Time Active

“On Saturday mornings, we always go for a run together. For the first 1/2 mile, our son Colin runs too, and then he eats a snack in the jogging stroller while we continue the run. We end at the Crozet farmer’s market, eat a treat at Mudhouse, and then we play on the playground together for an hour or so. He loves slides, climbing up ladders and sitting in the play Jeep and playhouse. This is our favorite thing to do together.”

Picking Priorities

“Family is very important, so you learn to make time. I do a lot of work after Colin goes to bed or while he naps on the weekends. But I try to make sure that I am always home to put him to bed and really reserve the whole weekend to spend time with him.”

Fitting in Exercise

“In terms of exercise, some weeks are better than others. But I do always fit in a run on Saturday and Sunday and then usually try to fit in a short one during the week before work. Running helps with stress management for me, and I also think it’s important for my son to see how to stay healthy, so I try to make it a priority.”

Remembering What Matters

“Playing with my son is a lot of fun — he makes me laugh and brightens my day — and it’s a great way to focus on what is really important in life. I have a friend from high school whose 7-year-old has a deadly brain tumor, and this really puts into perspective how important family can be.”

How Do You Stay Young at Heart?

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