Both experience and research tells us that the medical school environment can be highly stressful. If you are feeling stressed, you are not alone.
- Students enter medical school with mental health profiles similar to those of their peers, but experience depression, burnout, and anxiety at higher rates.
- There is a tendency for medical students and physicians to be highly self-critical.
- Many think that one cannot be vulnerable or less than perfect.
- Competition with others for further training or positions is common.
- There may be perceived obstacles to seeking help: Is it safe? Will it affect my future? How will others view this if they find out?
Life balance a whole-person model to increase health and wellness
What are you neglecting at this point in time?
- Mental/cognitive: Pay attention to thoughts, ways you think about yourself, others, the future
- Physical: Including sleep, nutrition, physical exercise, getting adequate health care, use of regular relaxation strategies
- Emotional: Learn to pay attention to how you feel and what you need
- Relational/Social: Nurture relationships with family, intimate partners, peers, friends. Take time for fun and laughter
- Spiritual: Consider that which gives meaning or fulfillment, transcends the self
What can YOU do?
- Seek balance even while in medical school
- Combat the stigma of getting help for mental and emotional distress for yourself and peers
- Use self-care measures. Seek support from trusted friends or family. Get professional help
Your power of choice as a medical student
- What are your expectations for yourself in medical school and for your performance on the next exam? Be honest.
- How do those thoughts, those standards, contribute to or increase your level of stress and anxiety?