I’m really anxious about exams – there’s so much information and I can’t remember half of it!
I feel like I’m really stressing about assignments/study and everyone else is doing just fine dealing with it all.
Medical students are accustomed to being high-achieving students in high school or university, so entering medicine, where your classmates have similar abilities, can be unsettling. This competition, coupled with an academically demanding and often emotionally draining course, can make you question your own competence, and lead to stress and anxiety.
This is natural, and up to a certain point stress and anxiety can in fact improve performance and increase motivation. However, once these levels of stress and anxiety start impacting negatively on your daily activities, relationships and quality of life, they become an issue that needs to be addressed.
What can you do about it?
Look after yourself
Seems obvious, but often this can become less of a priority if you’re preoccupied with anxiety or stress. Neglecting yourself and your needs will only make you feel worse, and lessen your capacity to deal with any problems.
Stay connected with friends, family and partners.
Maintain regular exercise, a balanced diet and adequate sleep.
Avoid excessive caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake
If you’re not used to exercising regularly, consider downloading free exercise apps like ‘Couch to 5km’ to help you get started.
The Victorian Doctors Health Program is a confidential service for doctors and medical students who have health concerns such as stress, mental health problems, substance use problems, or any other health issues. Visit the VDHP website here:http://www.vdhp.org.au/website/home.html
BeyondBlue and Headspace are national organisations that specialise in dealing with depression and anxiety, and youth mental health respectively. Visit their websites to access their services and get support.
Lifeline is a national organisation providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Visit the Lifeline website here:https://www.lifeline.org.au/
It is important to remember that this list is by no means exhaustive, and health professionals such as GPs may be able to provide more options. Furthermore, these options will not necessarily work equally well for everyone. The best thing you can do is choose an option that you feel most comfortable with, and if is not as effective or tolerable as you would like, try another option.