Medical school is no easy task. Long hours, more work than you can manage, a lack of sleep, and outrageous pressure can lead to burnout. And once you get to that point, it's hard to come back. Some information claims that as much as half of medical students are experiencing burnout, making it a problem we simply can't ignore. Because the best offense is a good defense, let's talk about three powerful things you can do to prevent medical school burnout.
How to Avoid Medical School Burnout
1. Get the Sleep You Need — Even if it Starts to Cut Into Study Hours
You read that correctly. We're telling you to sleep instead of study.
It doesn't matter how hard you study or for how many hours. If you try to do it when you're exhausted, it's not going to work.
According to NewScientist, a severe lack of sleep will interrupt the way your brain cells communicate with each other. The result can be lapses in memory and trouble concentrating.
The neurons in your brain just can't properly function when you don't get enough sleep, rendering studying almost useless. Catch some Zzzs and then hit the books. The results will be much better (and you'll feel better, too).
2. Make Time for Physical Activity
When it comes to things we sacrifice in order to study and work more, physical activity is right up there next to sleep.
Once again, you might be shooting yourself in the foot by bypassing exercise in order to study more.
Harvard says that regular activity can improve your memory, learning, and thinking skills. Specifically, it's aerobic exercise that you might want to focus on.
While breaking a sweat might not be at the forefront of your mind when you're buried in work or getting through your medical school rotation, maybe it should be. Even a brisk 20-minute walk, a quick jog, or some one-on-one time with a jump rope could work wonders for your medical school responsibilities.
3. Give Guided Meditation a Shot
Meditation may seem like nothing but a trending fad, but the practice has been around for a long time. We don't know how long, for sure. Some records say it originated around 1500 BCE in India. Others say it was the 3rd century in China.
Either way, meditation is most certainly not new or trendy or a fad, for that matter. And the benefits are real.
Psychology Today writes that meditating can help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress, among its many other benefits. These are three very common symptoms of burnout, making meditation a great habit to implement.
Your education and career are a marathon, not a sprint. Plan for the long haul and take care of yourself now. Your future self will thank you.
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