How to MANAGE STRESS as a doctor: Medical Resident Vlog

Hey guys, I’m Siobhan, a first-year medical resident. Today I’m doing a requested video about how I deal with feeling stressed or overwhelmed. And I’m going to take you through sort of four easy steps that I use all the time and I hope you find it useful. So it’s the perfect time this video, because I came home from work today actually feeling pretty stressed and overwhelmed. So I was thinking to myself ”how do I actually deal with this when I’m at home, but also when I’m in the hospital?” Okay. So step one: first you need to just figure out that you’re feeling stressed. And I know that sounds obvious, but that’s the first step to actually being able to do something about it. It’s being able to identify it. Step two: you need to figure out how to center yourself in the moment. For me before med school I was a violinist. And I performed a lot and I had to find ways to deal with stress and figuring out what to do to get myself centered again. So I use something that sounds really simple, but I basically just take a deep breath. And even just now when I did it, I scan my body for any kind of tension. And for me I tend to hold my tension in my shoulders and actually my jaw. If no one’s around and I’m feeling really stressed, I’ll actually just take that breath. Let my shoulders relax and feel my jaw relax and immediately I just feel more calm. And I just try to push out all those extra thoughts from my mind. So I’m just relaxing and pushing those thoughts out of my mind. Sounds pretty easy, right?! Like it’s not a difficult concept. I think the trouble is that even when we know we should do something, we’re not in the habit of doing it. So in the moment when we’re stressed, you don’t think about actually taking that breath and actually taking the time to relax. So step number three: You really just need to figure out why am I feeling stressed? Why am I overwhelmed? And it’s almost never just one thing. It’s usually that there are a whole bunch of things building up. Lots of things to do and on top of that you have to think ”Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Am I tired? And I think all those things make you feel even more stressed and make it feel even more difficult. And so all those things I like to put them down all onto a piece of paper, so then I can deal with them. So today when I came home, that’s exactly what I did. I grabbed this post-it and I wrote down all the things that I needed to do still today. So it says you know I need to make this youtube video, which I’m doing right now. I need to practice the violin, I’ve got a concert coming up. I’m on call tomorrow, so I got to prep some meals, then get it all packed in my bag. I need to study, I was planning to catch up on some ECGs. And I need to call my friend Allie, it’s her birthday today. And I wanted to do something active, and I don’t think I have time to go to the gym. So I was thinking of just doing some push-ups on the ground, something to make me feel like I had been active today. Finally that brings us to number four: Figure out how I’m going to get all of these things done. And that’s sort of a challenging thing, because I’m actually a big procrastinator. A lot of people don’t know that, because I tend to get stuff done, but it’s because I figured out ways to do it. I’m actually I’m going to make a whole separate video just to talk about how I manage my time and how it seems like I’m doing all these things even though at heart I’m a 100% a procrastinator. So once that’s done I’ll link it above here, so you can watch that as well. So that’s what I do in a nutshell when I’m feeling stressed. One: figure out I’m actually stressed. 2. I need to center myself. Three: I figure out why am I feeling stressed, I write it all down. So that four: I can make a plan to manage my time and get it all done. So thanks for watching guys. Don’t forget to subscribe to me if you liked what you saw and want to see more of my journey in residency. Comment below to let me know what you think and if you have any other suggestions or requests for videos, just let me know!

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  1. You're a resident physician and still find the time and energy to prepare for violin performances?! You're amazing! Love your videos!

  2. Hi, i've heard that if you take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then release, that it helps alot. Is that true?

  3. Omg she looks like the perfect human for me. She is a violinist that got into med school. Listening to her while I play sims 4 though. 🙄

  4. You must be procrastinating putting the link up on this video 😋
    I'm thinking you forgot but I couldn't resist the joke 😊 thank you for the tips on stress.
    I am currently 25 years and 364 days old (my birthday is tmrw and I spent twenty seconds trying to figure out which way to round then did the literal 😂) with lupus, having a laminotomy/maybe laminectomy very soon, have already had an LDF @ L5/S1 and… I want to go to med school. I'm also a mom, have yet to finish my bachelor's, and know I'll never be out of at least intermittent pain again. I was going to ask if you have any advice but rereading that I feel like I would only be able to say, "… may the force be with you" or "good luck" lol. I'm actually really nervous and have a lot to discuss with my neurosurgeon tmrw, not yo mention the pain from my spinal canal being squished, so I'm watching your videos and doing some stuff my son's teacher asked for help with; I feel productive doing that while focusing on my dream via your videos is finally giving me some optimism and hope. Thank you 💜

  5. how do you manage the stress as a doctor. The emergencies, the blue codes, the prolonged operations. You have to do it all right and fast even when you are exhausted and lacking sleep. I usually screw things when I’m exhausted. its amazing that you can do it all and still be happy. God bless you. I wish you could tell us about your secret so we can apply it too.thank you in advance ❤️

  6. I really loved the procrastination video(i watched it first lol) n it was so helpful!
    This was awesome too but i have a question if u have a minute sometime:

    How do u get stuff done if the stress is frm that item that needs done?

    I have a lot of stress frm things that need to get done but i find it hard to not procrastinate when its stressful, though as im sure you know, the longer u procrastinate the more stress bc its late or now you have less time ect.

    Im curious how you deal w that?

    Thanks so much!! 🙂

  7. I absolutely LOVE your videos!! I'm binge watching them! You would be an amazing educator/teacher. You make everything seem so easy to understand and when I feel like I'm overwhelmed or stressed or just wanna learn something new, I watch your channel. It helps me get grounded and focus. Thank you so much Doc! Congrats on having such a wonderful career and for going for your dreams!

  8. Humor is a great stress reliever. The entire hospital staff where I volunteer jokes around with each other. We're not a trauma center, but have a five star rating partially due to the environment.

  9. That's really useful, thank you doc, i was wondering how do you manage to practice more violin and learn to play new scores because i struggle a lot in doing that as a med student and the violin teacher said i should at least play 4h per day which is kind of a huge time consumption having to deal with shifts, and different med exams here and then etc, thank you.

  10. Making a list has always been my way of coping with feeling of stress/overwhelmed. I find the mind likes to make things bigger than they are, until you visually see where you need to take on.

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