Shadowing a Doctor

December 30, 2013

Medical school is a very high-stress, high pressure environment. The course itself is voluminous and the amount of knowledge you are expected to acquire might seem very daunting at times. In addition to this, the residency crunch can also add extra fuel to competition in the field. With the persistent competition from your peers and the relentless pressure to ‘do better’, you are always expected to over-perform and stress levels can hit the ceiling.

Of course, anyone who is in medical school will have a competitive spirit and while this is expected, when almost everyone is competitive, you will be constantly kept on your toes with trying to prove your mettle. The one way of getting through medical school with your sanity intact, is to learn how to manage stress.

A student assisting her mentor with taking a patients blood pressure How to manage stress 

Here are some pointers that can help in stress management:

Tip #1- Get some exercise

Try to get in some exercise in the mornings. If it’s not possible to work out every single day, try to get in some form of exercise at least 3-4 times a week. A few minutes is better than none at all. Exercise is a definite stress reliever and it will also help you sleep better.

Tip #2- Get enough sleep

This is a very important aspect of stress management. Try to wrap up everything that you have to do during the course of the day, on schedule and get to bed at a particular time every day. Of course, there will be times when you will have to burn the midnight oil, but make up for the lost sleep on other days. Lack of sleep can play havoc with stress levels.

Tip #3- Take time off 

It is very important to schedule some time off for yourself. It could be an evening two that you spend socializing with friends or family. Ensure that this is off the campus as it will help you get out of the work and study frame and will refresh your mind. If you prefer staying at home, just seat yourself in front of the TV and watch something mindless and fun.

Tip #4- Read a good book

If you like reading and are tired of the study-related books that you have to go through, keep a good and relaxing book handy and flip through a few pages before you get to bed at night.

Tip #5- Indulge in a favourite hobby

A lot of people have some hobby or the other and it gets sidelined when they join medical school. Make an effort and take it up again. 

These are just a few effective stress management techniques. The important thing is to make some time for the things you like doing. Four years is a big chunk of your life. Though you will be sinking yourself into medical studies, books and research, it is also very important that you give your mind and body a break. It will help you get back to your studies in a more focused manner and will also increase your efficiency levels.