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So, it's been six years since I first met my arch-nemesis: burnout. And let me tell you, it's as real as a triple shot of espresso on a Monday morning. Sure, it's not officially labelled as a medical condition, but it made its grand entrance into the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. Basically, it's like that annoying colleague who just won't leave your chronic workplace.

Picture this: me, back in the day, probably around your age (which now makes me feel like a fossil), knee-deep in medical school applications. Academic stress was my constant companion, and the pressure to excel in every extracurricular activity felt like trying to juggle flaming torches. Most of my waking hours were spent nose-deep in textbooks, with the occasional breakdown thrown in for good measure. Yeah, I was a poster child for burnout.

I was demotivated, exhausted, and feeling like I'd been hit by a tsunami of fatigue. Not exactly the recipe for success, right? And guess what? My health took a nosedive, and my work suffered, which only piled on more pressure. It was like being stuck in a hamster wheel of stress and despair. But don't worry, we got you covered! If just like me your burnout is partly caused by medical school application, reach out to Future Doc to get 1 ON 1 support, this could help you save time and ensure you are focussed on the right things.

But then, a lightbulb moment hit me like a ton of textbooks: what I was experiencing had a name – burnout. Cue the dramatic music. Suddenly, it all made sense. Medical school isn't exactly a dander in the park (shocker, right?). Not to scare you, but It can be a marathon of late-night study sessions, caffeine-fueled cramming, and more stress than you can shake a stethoscope at.

So, what's the secret recipe to preventing burnout? Well, it's all about finding what floats your stress-relief boat. But to make your life easy, here is my recipe called the “5Rs approach” to dealing with burnout.

  1. Recognise: As I said the first step to dealing with burnout is recognising it. Well, you can't treat a condition if you don't have the diagnosis, right? Signs may be subtle but if you feel like running away to a deserted island, that might be a hint.

  2. Reflect: Take some time to reflect on the factors contributing to your burnout. Are there specific stressors in your environment? Are you neglecting self-care or boundaries? Reflecting on the root causes can help you address them more effectively.

  3. Reassess: Once you've identified the sources of burnout, reassess your priorities and strategies for coping. Most importantly, learn how to set boundaries. Learn to say “No”, trust me when I say It's a game changer that can work wonders for your sanity. If you can't take up that additional task or if you do not want to go out tonight- learn to say no and put yourself first!

  4. Recharge: Prioritize self-care. I know- self-care is the buzzword of the century. But trust me, there's a reason for it. Take a bubble bath, go for a long walk, or indulge in a guilt-free Netflix binge. Make sure to schedule some "me time" into your chaotic calendar. As boring, as it might sound, to me this is getting into my pyjamas and watching a wildlife documentary but if it's bashing out in the gym for you, you do you!

  5. Reach out: Don't be shy—take a step forward and ask for support. Whether it's a trusted friend, a sympathetic ear, a professional counsellor or us at Future Doc, there's someone ready and willing to lend a helping hand. Talking and sharing with others might help you as well as them and you'll realise you're not alone in this!

Here now I can't come up with more words from R but my biggest tip would be to be proud of yourself and not be guilty for prioritising your health. It's perfectly okay to hit pause and take a breather, even if it means leaving the library earlier than planned. Remember balance is key and your well-being should never take a backseat to work or other obligations. To master the art of balancing check out this article on Future Doc and fight academic burnout!

So, pat yourself on the back for recognizing when you need a break and having the courage to take it. Remember, self-care isn't selfish—it's essential. After all, you can't pour from an empty cup, so fill yours up with self-love and self-compassion. You deserve it.

Suhani Bansal
Future Doc