This post kicks off "Work-Life Balance Week" here on Scrub Notes. For the next five days starting today, we will be publishing posts relating to maintaining balance in medical school as well as staying true to yourself. Alvina Lopez starts the series by describing tips to remain grounded as a medical student.
Med students might as well kiss their sanity goodbye at the beginning of each term before
they plunge into the work load that lies ahead. With all of the rigorous day-to-day studies that
go on, the anxiety of trying to balance internship schedules and jobs alongside those studies,
and the extra stress of examinations being thrown into the mix, med students can easily feel
overwhelmed and pushed to the brink of mental exhaustion. Luckily, there are some relatively
simple ways that med students can take time during each term to relax and stay sane.
Laugh on a regular basis. It may sound strange, but laughing on a regular basis can do
wonders for your stress. Try to find humor in your everyday situations, or even in a daily dose
of humorous television shows or movies. Laughing often can cause you to have a brighter
outlook on life instead of one filled with anxiety and a sense of doom and gloom. This is
because laughter has been proven to dull pain, even pains caused by tension and mental pressure,
according to WebMD. This positive attitude can also have the added benefit of drawing your
loved ones closer, as people tend to like being around those who are happy rather than those who
are frazzled or constantly upset. This tightened social network will help you to get through some
of the tougher periods of your time in med school.
Bond with your fellow med school peers. Feeling alone in your struggles can exacerbate stress.
Med school can be an utterly isolating time because you are typically buried in your work.
However, it is important to bond with some of your fellow med school peers because this will
help to remind you that you are not the only person going through the stress of seemingly endless
research projects, reading assignments, and tough in-class problems. While your friends who
are not in med school will certainly be open to listening to your rants about examinations and
clinicals, having someone who truly understands what you are enduring can be immensely more
beneficial. Bonding with those who are also in med school will allow you to openly vent and
even exchange advice on how to deal with specific issues, as well as allow you and your med
school peers to feel a sense of camaraderie that will strengthen your will to get through the term.
Take breaks from studying to recharge. Though you may feel like you have no time to do
anything other than go to class and study, you still need to make some time during your busy
week to take a break. Breaks are essential in preventing you from burning out before the term
ends. In fact, your brain needs regularly breaks from studying in order to retain information
efficiently. Take some time during the weekend to go shopping, watch a movie, see some
friends, or even to just take a long stroll around the park. During the week days, you can make
dinner time a time to relax, so instead of plowing through a bowl of macaroni and cheese with
your textbook plopped in your lap, make something more nutritious and rewarding and enjoy
your meal without any distractions. You will return to your studies afterwards feeling refreshed
and ready to take on more. If you feel low in energy in the long run, perhaps your program of study is not the right one for you. If you looking to balance work and school, consider online bsn programs as an alternative to a traditional education. You might find yourself better suited to distance learning instead of a traditional classroom.
Finally, consider doing something to help you physically relax. The condition of your body
can greatly influence the state of your mind, so consider relaxing your body in order to relax
your mind and de-stress. Something as simple as regular exercise can help to lift your spirits.
The increased blood flow and heart rate, coupled with the endorphins that are released during
sustained activity, will help to melt the stress away. Whatever your exercise activity of choice is, remember to stick to it throughout your term to help yourself reduce stress during some
challenging moments in your academic career. For those who need even more relaxation,
consider taking a few yoga classes or meditating. These activities are known to reduce stress,
which would help any med student to stay sane and focused.
This guest post is contributed by Alvina Lopez, who writes on the topics of accredited online schools. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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