Mental Health and Wellness as a Medical Student.
Updated: Aug 7, 2022
Mental health almost seems like a taboo subject in medical school. We learn about it, the causes and the side effects, we learn how it may affect one’s life and the relevant medical and non-medical treatments. In a way we carry all the knowledge to diagnose when we are struggling with our mental health, yet when it is put to addressing ourselves and our own complications we may be facing with our mental health we find it harder to accept.
Medicine can be a stressful, busy and time consuming degree and it can be hard to accept when we may be struggling to cope mentally.
Speaking from personal experience I sometimes have felt too stressed to accept my own feelings of worry or anxiety, and too busy to reach out for help. However hard it may feel, the benefits of putting yourself first and balancing your own academic life with your non-academic life is vital to living a happier and more well-rounded future. It isn't always the easiest, but accepting that we need to change our routine to incorporate more self-nourishment can allow us to perform better overall and boost your mood, confidence and general daily satisfaction.
What can I implement into my daily routine?
Sometimes life can feel very overwhelming and we don't have the time to do everything that we feel we need to and that is okay. I find that using a calendar with daily to-do tasks is a really effective method for me to feel satisfied that I have had a successful productive day. Breaking down your academic tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks will make them seem much more accomplishable and you will have the satisfaction of ticking these tasks off as you complete them.
Equally, I believe that including self-care and socialising tasks into your to-do list can be a valuable way of allowing yourself to have a better work-life balance whilst still feeling productive. For example things you may schedule into your to do list:
- Have a bath
- Watch a film
- Read a fictional book
- Call family
- See family/friends
Putting self-care and social activities into your to-do list can make you feel much more organised as you can clearly see that it is possible to manage your tasks for the day whilst also ticking off tasks beneficial to your happiness and mental health, which is equally as important as your academical work.
Self- care, relaxing techniques.
Sometimes life can become very overwhelming, and it can be extremely beneficial to take a step back and focus on yourself by taking a segment of your day to completely focus on yourself and your current feelings, to make them more manageable and to come within acceptance of your own emotions, good or bad.
Taking 5-10 minutes out of your day to write down how you have been feeling can be a really beneficial, relaxing technique to clear your mind. Whether this be at the start of the day to process your general thoughts and emotions of the day ahead, or at the end of the day to summarise how you have felt throughout it. Being in-tune and aware your emotions can make them seem more manageable and it can be easier to let go of negative thoughts when we can put them to paper to get them off our chests. Whilst writing in your journal take some time to include a section on gratitude. Writing down each thing you are grateful for in your life, whether that be your family, your health, your pet or whatever they may be, allows the brain to focus on what makes us truly happy in life. So even when things feel at their worst you can focus on what you are grateful for and the positivity you have in your life.