Medical school can be a non-stop succession of goals that you need to meet – whether it is turning in your course work in time or getting high scores in the various exams. With the persistent pressure of having to perform well and to excel, it is easy to get stressed. While some amount of stress can actually help you do your best, in the long run, the constant stress can be counter-productive. Not only can it affect your performance adversely but it also leads to a host of health problems from high blood pressure and fatigue to heart disease and depression. The best way to manage stress in medical school is to learn how to manage it before it starts to get overwhelming. These few tips will help you manage stress in medical school from day 1. Don’t get into the habit of procrastinating One of the most common reasons why medical students get so stressed out is because of procrastination. Unfortunately, all the little things that you keep for ‘later’ can pile up. Every new day brings new challenges and you’ll find yourself busy just trying to keep up with the day’s work. Trying to fit in the previous day’s work could well be the last straw. If you manage your time well and do your work on time, you feel less stressed and that in itself will help you perform better across the board. Get some exercise Physical activity of any kind releases those feel-good endorphins that are natural stress relievers. You may feel like your day is already packed with things to do and trying to make time to exercise may not sound all that important in the scheme of things. However it can make a huge difference. Keep aside at least 15-20 minutes a day or every other day to indulge in your favourite form of physical activity- whether it is yoga, swimming, skipping or punching a speed bag. Make sure you eat right A healthy diet that includes all the essential nutrients can do much to help alleviate stress levels whereas an unhealthy diet will only make things worse. Eat regular meals and try and include some amount of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, pasta and dairy products every day and drink plenty of water. Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine, binge eating and skipping meals contribute negatively to stress levels and are best avoided. Make time to socialise Socializing may sound like the least important thing on your ‘to-do’ list when you already have tons of things that you need to get done but studies have shown that it is absolutely crucial for combating stress. Socializing helps in many ways, it releases a hormone called oxytocin, which helps to bring down anxiety levels and it also helps motivate students by strengthening their common sense of purpose. Get enough sleep Medical students are notorious for loading up on caffeine and not getting enough sleep. This does not help however as lack of sleep can leave you wired up, agitated and stressed out. On the other hand, managing your time well and getting the sleep you need, will work wonders for your stress levels, your academic performance and your health as well. Eye-opening hospital work experience International hospital shadowing for school and university students Find out more You might also be interested in ... The 10 fears of (almost) every medical student Can I sit the UMAT if I already have a degree? Under 18s can now join us in the Dominican Republic!