Tips for Protecting Your Mental Health During Intern Year
Doctors suffer from depression more than any other professionals, affecting about 60% of practicing physicians. Medical professionals will, at some point or another, face stressors in their lives. Physicians can experience this as early as undergrad, following them into residency and even their professional career. That is why implementing best practices for self-care will be vital to protecting your mental health and ultimately, serving your patients better.
Dr. Jake Goodman, MD, psychiatry resident and mental health advocate, knows first hand what depression can do. Below are his tips and advice for physician mental health.
1. Time is Your Most Precious Asset. Protect it.
Residency can be hectic, and some weeks you may even work 80 hours with little free time. Finding a routine to help maximize your time is the best way to ensure you are taking care of yourself first and foremost. One way to work efficiently can be by fitting in studying during your breaks. Some resources such as TrueLearn’s Question Banks or even Quizlet offer a way for you to prepare for your exam on your mobile device.
2. Know Your Priorities.
There is nothing more important than family to Dr. Goodman. During residency, he became increasingly aware of the importance in balancing his work and family, and prioritized accordingly. Getting enough sleep is the best way to prevent burnout, so it is recommended to try and get at least six hours of sleep a night. Be sure to always advocate for yourself, leaving work at work and not taking on too many additional tasks to help prevent burnout.
3. Find Time for Therapy.
If you are ever struggling, there are several ways to gain access to the help you need. With his busy schedule, Dr. Goodman finds online therapy, such as BetterHelp, to be the most accommodating. If you are comfortable enough reaching out to your program, they may have a wellness committee that provides further resources. You may also want to check in with your insurance on which providers work best with your benefits.
4. Figure Out Your Non-Negotiables.
Write down at least three non-negotiables that are important for you to implement in your life every single week. For instance, Dr. Goodman makes time to meditate every day, gets at least six hours of sleep a night, and has a weekly date night with his wife. As much as you want to hold yourself accountable in your work, you should do just the same with your personal time.
These are only a few of the tips and resources Dr. Jake Goodman provides to help others prioritize their mental health as a key element to success in their medical academic journey and beyond. Watch the rest of his session from our recent Residency Match Summit below.
Get to Know Speaker Dr. Jake Goodman
If you scrolled through your Tik Tok feed, you might have seen Dr. Jake Goodman or even heard of him through a fellow student or co-resident.
What began as three followers (two including his own parents) grew into a platform reaching over one million subscribers. It is his courage to share his story about his struggle with depression through medical school and residency, knowing the potential consequences to his career, that has captivated the eyes of millions.
Not long ago, Dr. Goodman and his partner matched into residency in Miami. He was going to be a doctor. So why did he feel so numb? Residency is tough, and he knew there would be days that are harder than others. After a while, he began to realize the things that had once delighted him didn’t bring him joy anymore.
After a co-resident addressed spotting signs of depression, Dr. Goodman decided it was time to seek help. In therapy, he was able to express the trauma he had experienced in the field and began medication to treat his depression. Dr. Goodman now creates content to support medical students, residents, and anyone who may be experiencing signs of depression to seek the guidance that helped change his life.
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