08 Sep 5 Ways to Reduce Stress During Your Residency
From providing patient care during a long shift to completing important exams and evaluations, being a resident physician can be full of stressful situations.
Unfortunately, many residents ultimately get burned out. A growing number of studies show that burnout, characterized by the loss of emotional, mental, and physical energy from continued stress on the job, is a common problem in medical residency programs. In fact one study estimated that about 12% of medical students and residents surveyed suffered from major depression (about twice the national average for adults in the United States.
Here are Five Suggestions to Help Make Residency Less Stressful:
1. Don’t Ignore Your Physical Health
Residents can be insanely busy. But while scheduling time for exercise and healthy meal-planning is difficult, regular exercise has extensive health benefits.
Exercise can uplift spirits, boost energy, control weight and help combat health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. An hour of exercise can restore balance not only to our minds, but to our bodies. And if you can’t squeeze in an entire hour, even a short 15–20 minute walk can get your blood pumping and help clear your mind.
2. Maintain a Support System
One of the first things to be eliminated when feeling on edge is time with friends. However, leaning on the supportive individuals we have and seeking out new support is vital to easing anxiety. Spend quality time with your spouse or significant other. Participate in activities that have nothing to do with work, like exploring a new hobby or volunteering. Talk with your friends and loved ones about your stressors. You don’t need to bear the weight of stress alone.
3. When In Doubt, Ask for Help
Not only is asking for help smart, it’s a sign of self-awareness – not weakness. Whether clinically or personally, asking for help says, “I’m aware of my limits and need guidance to push past them.” Having trouble processing a tough day? Ask a colleague to listen. Feeling down or anxious? Enlist the help of a counselor. Make a phone call to your physician health program or residents association. Help is out there if you want it.
4. You’re Not Expected to Know Everything
Residency is about learning. If you already knew everything, you wouldn’t be a resident! If a patient has a question and you’re stumped for an answer, just say so. “That’s a great question. I’m actually not sure, but I’ll find out.” The same goes for preceptors – if you don’t know, say you’ll look it up — and actually do it. If you can’t find it by looking it up, there are many physicians willing to lend their knowledge.
5. Support Your Fellow Residents
Your co-residents are your greatest allies, so look out for each other. If someone seems to be struggling, rather than ignore it, offer support. It doesn’t have to be big – buy them coffee or have an after-work drink. Remind them of something they’ve done well. Collaborating with colleagues is a great way to help others – and can show you that you’re not the only one feeling the strain of residency.
Contact Our Team at Annashae Today
At Annashae we’re dedicated to the placement of highly-skilled clinical practitioners in short and long-term positions. As a nationwide medical staffing and consulting firm, we provide a range of services that enable our candidates to quickly find a career opportunity that fits their needs. For information on how you can further your clinical career, contact us today.