Sometimes we can lose sight of the fact that our lives are made for living. Not just working day in, day out. Not just trying to get the highest grades or getting into medical school. Living. At different points in your life, it can seem like you have so much to do and so many people to please. All this pressure and no idea what to do about it. Maybe you’re worried that your GCSEs aren’t quite up to par. Or maybe they went amazingly and now you’re worrying about how your A Levels (or equivalent) are going to go. Maybe you are stressing over your mocks, or your UKCAT/ BMAT, or starting university and making friends, or making it through medical school and going into your job. Or maybe it’s just life itself.
Do you recognise yourself in any of these people? Countless numbers of us have been there or are currently there. It’s nothing new. My advice?
Some days, just stop.
Take a breath.
Think (or stop thinking, if that’s what you need).
Just take a moment and stop. It doesn’t have to be for long. Just enough to calm yourself down. Whilst the world won’t magically stop turning, and time won’t afford us the privilege of putting it on pause, we do still hold some power in our hands. We can’t control every outcome, but we can control our reactions. Sometimes stress can help us focus and motivate us to meet deadlines. But this isn’t always the case. Excessively stressing yourself out about all these different things can be detrimental to your health, both physically and mentally. But you probably know that, right? So why do we do it?
Stressing out is completely natural and part of being a human. We’ve all done it. I can say I’m probably the number one perpetrator. Deciding to pursue a career in medicine, regardless of the stage you’re at (GCSE, A Level, university and even in the job itself), is inherently stressful. It’s a big decision and one that I imagine you didn’t take lightly. While we can’t anticipate all the stressful things we will go through on our journey, we can try and develop our coping mechanisms to allow us to best deal with the issues. I can’t tell you the best way to cope – that’s up to you. Maybe you just need advice from someone with more experience than you. Maybe you just need a second to gather yourself and refocus your mind. Or maybe you just need a couple of minutes to cry and get everything out of your system. But if you take a second to stop and think, you’re giving yourself a chance to stop that spiral thinking and put your mind on pause. Then keep going. You can do it.