There’s a fine line between stress and medical school. Medical school can be pretty challenging and might take a toll on the mental health of students. From numerous quizzes to stress of USMLE preparation, medical school is a rigorous journey.
Today, many medical students are struggling with their mental health. You might not be able to reduce the workload but you can adopt study schedules and regimens that will help you cope well with the stress of medical school.
Here are some mental health tips to follow to maintain optimal performance in medical school.
Make use of a planner for organisation
It’s not easy keeping track of notes and assignments hence the need for a planner. Having a planner reverses feelings of burnout and stress seeing that it has helpful features to help you keep track of your assignments and activity.
Staying organized is key to succeeding in medical school. Given the unprecedented growth of digital technology, there’s an array of planners you can use to achieve your organisation goals.
Review your academic calendar
Review the courses you’ll be taking per time, throughout the year. Become acquainted with your class periods, recess, exams and clinical rotations. This will allow you master your environment and alleviate stress.
Have a good sleep routine
Most medical students often stay up late studying. Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity and other chronic health conditions. It’s necessary you get enough sleep as inadequate sleep can lead to mental stress and depression.
As a medical student, you need all the sleep you can get for good performance in your studies. Ensure you maintain a good sleep routine.
Join a study group
It is easy to get overwhelmed with coursework but working with others have proven to be a good stress mediator. Studying in groups helps you gain insights in topics that might have been giving you tough times. You also get to learn new study skills, communication skills and critical thinking.
Furthermore, it offers you an opportunity to learn from your peers, share ideas, and get motivation and emotional support from one another.
Try to keep up with your lectures
Piling up your notes for later study can lead to mental stress. Review your lecture notes after each class. This will help you absorb and retain information.
A weekly review of lecture notes and creation of relevant flash cards aid memorization and learning.
Being physically fit has lots of health benefits. It helps increase memory and aid better sleep. Exercise also cause a decrease in the incidence of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Yoga and meditation helps clear your mind, encourage focus and rids the body of stress.
It is important you set out time to work out, as it does wonders to both your physical and mental health. It will not only relax your nerves but make you feel good. You can go for a walk, do some aerobic exercise or crunches in your room.
Practice healthy living
Research have shown that a healthy lifestyle is beneficial for one’s mental health. Ensure you eat healthy meals. Fill up on lots of fruits and vegetables. Avoid carbs and processed foods.
People who consume processed foods are likely to get depressed compared to those who eat healthy. Avoid smoking, limit your alcohol intake and engage in physical activities.
Take advantage of your local resources
Every medical school has a compiled list of resources made available to help their students both academically and health wise. American University of St.Vincent School of Medicine is no exception!
These resources include med-student well-being resources, student health services etc. Endeavor to make use of them when the need arise.
Often times, medical students get so busy that they forget to socialise. Make time to connect with loved ones. Take a break from studying to spend time with friends.
Research has shown that interacting with others improves mood and reduces feelings of depression.
If you’re feeling depressed, hopeless or frustrated, talk to your school’s counselor. Many medical schools have trained counselors and psychiatrists who are readily available to help students overcome mental stress. Reach out to them as early as possible.
Remember, maintaining your mental health plays a crucial role in succeeding in medical school.