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How Can Medical Students Cope with Stress during Medical School

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Being a medical student, you have to work harder to deal with a rigorous medical school schedule and fulfill other demands. You have to stay committed and get ready for the high demand nature of clinical training to become a qualified physician.

A majority of medical students find it really hard to stay on top of a rigorous school schedule and fulfill other necessary demands. This stressful routine negatively impacts the mental health of medical students. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 30% of medical students suffer from depression or have symptoms  of depression.

It’s no secret that medical students are top performers and fairly competitive. They are accustomed to handling the challenging life of medical school, but not all students have the same potential to deal with medical school stress. The style of learning at medical school is different from traditional college classes. Students have to attend lectures, prepare assignments, complete lab work, prepare for the USMLE, choose a medical specialty and prepare them for a residency match.

The tough competition, limited time for relaxation, the pressure to succeed in school, learn the sheer amount of course material and stay on top of the classmates are the common factors that contribute to stress and depression.

Stress, if not dealt properly, is a contributing factor to addiction and suicide. This is why medical students should be aware of some healthy ways to cope with stress during medical school. Whether you are planning to apply to medical school or currently studying in a Caribbean medical school, you have to get ready to deal with medical school stress.

Let’s explore some really effective and healthy ways to alleviate stress during medical school.

  1.       Find a Support System
  2.       Regular Exercise
  3.       Eat Healthy Foods
  4.       Set Aside Time to Relax
  5.       Stick to Your Goal


  1.  Find a Support System

During medical school, students’ mental health is at high risk, which can have a negative impact on their academic performance. This is why it is important to promote their health and wellbeing. Whatever the cause of medical school stress, the key is to figure out how to deal with medical school stress and burnout. One of the best stress management techniques is to find a support system. You can either find a mentor, a friend, or a senior who can prepare you for bumps in the road.

When feeling stressed, talk to a friend, discuss the problem and get advice from them. Reaching out to academic counselors and personal tutors is also a great idea. They are trained persons and will help you find the solution of a problem and offer you the best advice. Medical students are encouraged to build a positive relationship with their peers, family members or classmates so that they can reach out to them when they encounter a stressful situation.

  1.   Regular Exercise

There are several studies that have shown that exercise can help you reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Whether you like swimming, hiking, brisk walking, jogging, or cycling, participating in physical activities will relieve tension and frustration. Many medical students can’t be able to set aside time for going to the gym, they can take 30 minutes from their busy and hectic schedule for some simple exercise activities.

You can mediate, go for a walk or watch activity-based videos between the classes to reduce stress levels. Regular exercise will help improve the blood circulation, keep your mind and body fit, add mindfulness and combat negative thoughts.

  1.     Eat Healthy Foods

In order to be physically fit and mentally strong, you have to improve eating habits and incorporate healthy food into your diet plan. Though it sounds a bit challenging for medical students to take out time preparing healthy meals all the time. However, it is not as difficult as it sounds. There are some simple and healthy recipes available that you can prepare easily. Trust me, eating healthy food and avoiding junk food will definitely help you deal with stress in medical school.

  1.    Set Aside Time to Relax

Heavy workload, intense competition and limited time of relaxation are a few common stressors in medical school. Neglecting your physical and mental wellbeing will lead to many health issues which will eventually lead to stress. Control your schedule effectively and find some time for your personal enrichment.

If you enjoy hanging out with friends, or love to do a simple hobby, set aside time for the activities you enjoy most. Remember, medical school education is stressful, you need to practice relaxation techniques to alleviate anxiety and depression.

  1.    Stick to Your Goal

Remember, the goal of entering medical school is to gain advanced medical knowledge and clinical skills so that you save people’s lives. Whenever you get stressed out, just remember why you entered the industry in the first place. The ultimate goal of getting medical education is to help people, not to be stressed out by intense competition, rigorous coursework and laboratory work. This can revive stressed students and help them reduce stress levels.

To Sum All Things Up

Getting into medical school is a huge success, it took hard work and months for preparing for the MCAT, participating in volunteering and completing the medical school application. You are capable enough to deal with the medical school challenge. Following these simple stress management tips will help students deal with medical school stress and perform at their best throughout the medical school journey and get ready for the rewarding medical career.

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