Welcome back. We have been focusing our newsletters on stress in graduate medical students and how to assist your cohorts with developing self-care behaviors that will improve their mental and physical health through the rigors of the programs. In today’s newsletter, I’ll begin sharing the lessons and techniques we teach students to accomplish this goal.
The first one-hour workshop I recommend is held during Week 5 of the semester and teaches students how to develop a self-care plan. These pointers will be as helpful for faculty and administration as for students!
When did you last do something enjoyable because it felt great?
Self-care activities are:
It works best if you practice both:
Graduate students who engage in self-care demonstrate increased self-compassion, decreased psychological distress, and increased life satisfaction.
Within many approaches and strategies, there is no single way to implement self-care into one’s life. Self-care is meant to be individualistic, and there is no right or wrong way of applying it. What researchers stress most is consistency with the implementation of self-care. One must consistently employ various potential strategies for overall personal and professional benefit.
Focusing solely on mental health while ignoring your body’s physical health would be detrimental; diving headlong into physical exercise while ignoring your emotions and personal relationships is counterintuitive. Therefore, pay attention to all aspects of your life.
Stress can be greatly relieved by a sense of connection with a force transcendent of one’s self, such as nature, the universe, or God. Examples include but certainly aren’t limited to prayer, attending religious services, meditation/daily mindfulness practices, and even walks in nature to appreciate beauty.
Self-care isn’t just for the evening and weekends.
Self-care's overall goal is always to promote your psychological wellness and effective functioning. While commitment to practicing self-care is important, self-care is never meant to be another obligation, obstacle, or unenjoyable experience. Approach self-care with an attitude of patience. Understand that it is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon. Talk to others for ideas regarding self-care practices and support for your plan.
The categories above list several methods that can be used to improve stress management. Students attending this workshop are informed of the follow-up workshop, where we will describe and teach those stress-management techniques. For you readers, you need only join me in our following newsletter. I will see you then!