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6 Ways to Stay Healthy in Medical School

6 Ways to Stay Healthy in Medical School main image

Sponsored by University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

Medical school can be one of the most rewarding, exciting and unforgettable experiences of your life. However, there are times when it can also be among the most stressful and worrying.

Stress is a common problem among medical students, and it can feel impossible sometimes to stay on an even plateau when you’re working and studying for 12 hours a day.

Fortunately, over the last couple of years the conversation surrounding mental health and wellbeing has really taken off, especially when it comes to university students. Promoting a better understanding of the subject can only ever be a positive, so we’ve teamed up with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and spoke to one of their MBBS (bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery) students to find out how you can maintain a healthy body and healthy mind during your studies at medical school.

Use your university’s support services and resources

It’s no secret that medical school requires long hours, massive amounts of studying, and can result in high levels of stress. So, it’s important you try to be as open and honest as possible with both yourself and with others if you’re starting to find things difficult and are struggling to cope.

Dean Hardy, a second-year MBBS student at the University of Central Lancashire tells us his thoughts about studying medicine: “The course is tough and requires long hours, organization and commitment to care, but it doesn’t come without the support of others.”

The MBBS course at UCLan offers a warm and welcoming environment for students from all over the world, and as universities become very much aware of the importance of ensuring there is substantial support when it comes to the wellbeing of their students, the University of Central Lancashire provides a dedicated Counselling, Mental Health and Wellbeing Service for all students who wish to use it.

Organization and time management is essential

Plan, plan, and plan some more.

“Your mental wellbeing at medical school largely relies on being free of stress and anxiety. My way of ensuring this is to keep on top of revision from the off. Write notes up before lectures, and revise the notes after lectures. Being organized helps your mental wellbeing and reduces anxiety and stress,” says Dean.

Keeping track of your progress as well as setting targets can also help. “Each Sunday evening I set targets for the following week, which keeps me motivated and reduces my anxiety and stress,” adds Dean.

Eating healthy is a recipe for success

As tempting as it is to reach for the carbs and sugar, as a medical student you’ll know the importance of nutrition and having a well-balanced diet.

Your body is going to hit rock bottom by the time it’s stopped bouncing off the walls after you’ve finished your fifth Red Bull, cappuccino or Coca-Cola. Instead, reach for healthy study snacks such as nuts or fresh fruit and veg. Their natural sugars will help boost your energy and concentration levels.

Get active and stay active

Even if it’s just going for a 15-minute walk each day, it’s nice to have a change of scenery and be able to refresh your eyes as well as your mind, and take some time away from your books.

“Studying medicine requires you to be sat down for hours on end revising, so it’s important to do some form of physical activity,” advises Dean.

“Many medical students join sports clubs or societies, some go running, others go to the gym as well. The gym isn’t for everyone, so it’s important to find what makes you happy. My biggest advice is that you do some form of exercise as it’ll really help your positive wellbeing, as well as improve your ability to study.”

Sleep is key

Although medical school comes with inconsistent schedules, you should try and make sure you go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.

Sleeping is just as important as studying – without it, you can’t function properly. In fact, the average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best.

Although this is easier said than done, there are a number of apps out there as well as more traditional sleeping techniques that can help you catch up on well-needed rest.

Remember it’s ok to relax and have some chilled time

Finding a way to relax and relieve stress is something that’s personal to you. Everyone has different ways of achieving it, whether it’s meeting up with friends, going to the cinema, baking, reading, or even going away for a short weekend break.

Dean says: “I always use Monday to Friday as my study time, working hard from 6.30am all the way through to 8pm. I do this so I can have Friday night, Saturday and Sunday off to do anything I like.”

“We also like to go travelling and have mini breaks in European cities, which is actually a lot cheaper in some cases than going to London for the weekend. We go out at night, eat out, sight-see and explore the local culture.” 

Healthy body, healthy mind

Both are as important as each other, and when you’re a medical student it can seem like a real cliché of practicing what you preach. Good self-care is a basic survival tactic, and it’s important you listen to both your body and your mind.

If you’re feeling down or anxious and are finding it excessively difficult to cope, it might be a good idea to seek the closest professional help available to you, whether it’s talking to your local counselor or contacting your GP. Extreme and prolonged feelings of despair or dread may be signs that something more serious is going on, and may require further support.

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Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the sponsored content writer for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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