As you know, there are many different factors that contribute to your wellness. There is a physical component, environmental component, financial, intellectual, and more. Today though, let’s address for a few moments your emotional well-being.
Today, right now, what is the number one top stressor in your life? Quickly name the first thing that comes to your mind. Don’t think about this hard. Don’t justify or qualify your thoughts. Simply name it.
Name it and immediately see what emotions come up. Take a few moments here and admit how it feels to have this stress hanging over you. Is there fear? What about anger? Hopelessness? Shame? Guilt?
All of the above?
It is not uncommon for us to have stress in our lives. Right now, as a student clinician, you have a lot to take in in terms of education. You need to pass your classes and boards and retain all that information for the future. You need to practice your examination skills and techniques and hone clinical thinking. You need to see patients in some very different clinics and learn how to give appropriate and personalized care. You need to deal with different professor and attending doctor personalities and expectations. And all of this is just in terms of your life as a student.
Outside of all that, there’s making sure you stay healthy by exercising and eating healthy. There’s making sure you find your balance to make sure you don’t feel like you’re cutting off the ‘outside world’ and missing out on important events with loved ones. There’s making sure you have adequate money to cover all of your day to day essentials plus more. And then there’s the environment around you – how do you generally feel? What about what’s going on nearby or in the world around you?
There may be stress as related to events passed – recent traumas, childhood traumas, ancestral or karmic too. And there are also the worries and stressed thinking about the future.
Whatever it is, whatever you have named, now that you have sat with how you feel – what do you do next?
You could start figuring out what to do about your stress. Break down the worry and figure out step by step how to remove the stress. That could mean making a schedule to study for exams. Or doing some gentle stretches to work out the tension in your back or shoulders after studying so long. It could mean creating a budge if money seems like it’s going to be tight in the next few weeks.
You could ignore the problem for now and do something else that’s perhaps more pressing and come back to this issue later. That’s fine too, just make sure you do go back to it before it becomes an even bigger stressor and starts spilling into other areas of your life.
What I would invite you to do is to seek out the underlying cause for your stress and dissect it, study it, analyze it until you see what it is about the situation, personal, thin that makes you stressed. That could mean journaling. That could mean taking a hike and pondering. That could mean talking to a counselor. And it all means being honest with yourself and being open to what comes up during these sessions.
I have been on a personal healing journey for most of my life, even before I consciously knew or understood what I was doing. However, after going through burnout time and time and time again, I knew something had to change. In 2012, I started looking at more alternative type therapies of healing – things like reiki and crystals, yoga and meditation. After improving some areas of my life, I knew I wanted to go deeper and asked for my next guide who could help me. In 2017, I started working with a coach who’s helped me uncover more than I could have ever imagined, and I continue to be grateful for our work together today.
It is not my place to say you should or you have to seek out a coach or mentor or therapist, but I do want you to seek help if you feel like you can’t do this on your own. There is no shame in it. I ask only that you consider this another option for you, especially if you are overwhelmed or burnt out. Having someone offer unbiased perspectives and practical tools to help you get to the other side of stress can make a world of difference.
Whatever stress is there that has come up for you today, honor it for the message it is bringing you. And wherever you are on your journey, I honor you for being here. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help make your path easier for you.