Today, the number of healthcare workers experiencing burnout is drastically increasing due to the rapid advancements of the last few years. However, burnout doesn’t only debilitate the health of doctors and physicians working in the healthcare field. Students seeking to venture into this field are also faced with mounting challenges of burnout and anxiety. According to various research, medical students are more susceptible to experiencing burnout than other students. Additionally, they are more prone to experience depression and stress.
Medical schools and nursing programs are highly demanding, which makes for an intense and competitive study environment. There is cutthroat and mostly unhealthy competition in the field, and it mentally exhausts even the most competent students. As a result, students are more susceptible to developing mental health issues and chronic stress, leading to total burnout.
You can define burnout as a state one develops after undergoing immense stress for an extended period. It causes physical and emotional exhaustion, which can lead to adverse effects in the future. Eventually, it starts affecting the student’s ability and follows through in their professional life. For instance, when they finally step into the healthcare industry, they struggle to manage work and workplace stressors. Therefore, healthcare aspirants/students must address their mental health issues else they’ll penetrate their professional life as well.
And, they can do so by following the tips in this guide:
1. Consider the education mode
Almost every medical school follows the same health education curricula to impart knowledge to their students. The difference arises in how this information is conveyed, meaning the mode of information transfer. Therefore, it is crucial to determine your preferred study mode before you decide on a medical school. For some people, regular on-campus classes with a strict schedule are the preferable mode. Others, and primarily those considering to work simultaneously, opt for eLearning. For instance, many nursing students/professionals pursue online msn programs to advance their careers alongside continuing clinical work.
Additionally, consider how your medical school tackles the curriculum, what skills they instill, and whether they provide practical work exposure. After you have considered these things, pick the one that suits your learning style so you can manage your studies with ease and convenience.
2. Use your time wisely
It can be tempting to enjoy your higher education experience to the fullest by signing up for numerous extracurricular activities. But don’t fill your plate more than it can handle. Especially when you are studying to become a nurse or a doctor, you have to work harder in the competitive environment of a medical school. So, you have to strive for a healthy balance between your education and other prospects. For this purpose, you can set a schedule that accommodates your study time and extracurricular activities alike. Nonetheless, if push comes to pull, always prioritize your education over any other activity, as it will determine your career and future.
3. Take care of yourself
One of the main reasons medical students fall prey to burnout is that they have to completely immerse themselves in their studies. But working too hard can affect your health adversely. For example, you won’t sleep properly and eat too much or too little because of stress. While our body can adapt to handling minor stressors, it becomes challenging to get rid of them once they pile into chronic issues.
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For this purpose, you must take some time out of your tightly packed schedule to spare yourself a few minutes of self-care. Go for a light jog for half an hour or do stretches and light cardio when you wake up. Try to follow a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and protein to provide energy for studying. These small initiatives can help you reduce stress and maintain your health.
4. Maintain healthy relationships
Our relationships have a tremendous impact on our well-being. Having a supportive friend group and a caring family eases our minds and motivates us to work harder. However, suppose you have toxicity in your life because of your dysfunctional family or degrading friends. In that case, they can drive you towards unnecessary stress and tension, which can wear you out eventually. On the other hand, you cannot survive in isolation as well. So, you must maintain healthy relationships with people who are supportive of your endeavors. If you’re stuck with toxic relationships ruining your peace, reduce or limit contact with them for your well-being. Instead, surround yourself with understanding, supportive, and fun people to rejuvenate your energy and motivate you whenever you are down.
5. Explore relaxation techniques
Every person should practice mindfulness to achieve the best balance between physical and mental health. It includes being mindful of your shortcomings and knowing your limits. Especially in education, you must be aware of your current state of mind and not push yourself needlessly for good grades. Similarly, you can explore different relaxation techniques to see which one works best for you. For instance, take a small evening stroll in the park and surround yourself with people and nature. Or do yoga and meditation to release tension within your muscles and mind. You can also spend time with a loved one or tuck in your bed with a good meal and a movie. These relaxation techniques are essential to give your mind a break whenever it overwhelms you.
6. Ask for help
You don’t have to tackle every issue and every challenge alone. It’s viable to call for help instead of struggling and failing yourself if the water goes over your head. You can seek help from your classmates, friends, and faculty members. If the challenge is not educational and you are simply struggling with some emotional issue, then approach a mental health professional such as a therapist or counselor. Besides, your university might offer free counseling for students, which you can revert to if your mental health deteriorates.
Medical students undoubtedly have to strive hard to score high grades that eventually serve as defining factors for their careers. For this reason, they become more susceptible to burnout that can follow them in their professional life and affect their career. Nonetheless, medical students must take the initiatives to manage their workload and avoid burnout. Following these steps can help them relax and maintain study-life balance successfully. In addition, it will help them concentrate on their education while leaving plenty of time to enjoy life.