Once you decide to earn a graduate medical degree, you know you are in for several years of stress. You wouldn’t commit if you weren’t sure it would be worthwhile in the end, but that doesn’t make what you are facing any easier. Finding ways to manage stress allows you to focus on school. If you try to ignore these feelings, they will build up until they create a mental or physical crisis.
Figure Out Your Finances
Financial concerns are a leading cause of stress. Many things that cause stress are out of your control, managing the things you can are important. If you are worried about paying for tuition, rent, or even food, you will not be able to focus on your education. Taking out student loans through a private lender to pay for your graduate medical degree allows you to focus on your education without worrying about meeting your financial obligations. The process of taking out a private student loan is quick and easy, and you can borrow the money you need to pay not only tuition but other education-related expenses.[Related: 5 Tips to Have a Healthy Lifestyle in College]
When you are working on a graduate medical degree, you may not have a great deal of control over your schedule. It is important to fit sleep in, on as regular of a schedule as possible. Lack of sleep makes it more difficult to concentrate, slows reaction time, and lowers immunity. The less sleep you get, the more important it is to focus on sleep hygiene. This means staying off of screens for at least an hour before bed, developing a ritual before bed that helps you calm down, and maintaining as structured of a sleep schedule as possible. Strong sleep hygiene habits make it easier for you to fall and stay asleep, allowing you to make the most of the time you have.
Fitting in time to exercise may feel impossible, but even 10-minute sessions allow you to blow off steam and provide a mental boost. A well-balanced workout routine includes strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching. If your time is limited and you struggle to exercise, allow yourself to do the exercise you prefer. Whether it is lifting at the gym or hitting the trails for a run, any workout you complete is better than nothing.
Spending even a few minutes outside every day is beneficial to your mental health and can reduce stress. Exposure to natural sunlight is important for your body and can improve your sleep patterns as well as your mood. An early morning walk can be a mood-boosting way to start your day, but even sitting outside for a few minutes while you eat lunch is beneficial.[Related: Ways to Reduce Stress and Build Connections During Distance Learning]
Make Time for Friends
It is probably not realistic to expect that you can maintain a party-centered social life while working on your graduate medical degree, but you should be mindful that you aren’t too isolated. Whether it is forming a study group, going out with friends one night a week, or some other activity, schedule time to decompress.