As a student, embarking on your surgical residency is something you’ve probably been looking forward to for a long time. Finally, you’ll be able to put into practice all that you’ve spent long hours studying in school. But residency is also a very taxing time, both mentally and physically. Being on call, not having a regular schedule, working holidays, etc. can all take a toll on your health and your relationships.

Professionals who are members of The Institute for Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) say that looking back, they can see how creating balance is essential for not just surviving but thriving during your residency. Here are some strategies for keeping your sanity:

  • Have an outlet. Choose an activity or activities you enjoy (that have nothing to do with work or school) and make time for it. Whether it’s a team sport or a solitary hobby such as knitting or beer making, be sure there is something in your life that is purely enjoyable and fun.
  • Get physical. There is no debating the mental health/physical health connection. Although you’ll probably get in plenty of walking as you make rounds, a sustained amount of time running, swimming, biking or doing some other form of exercise will help clear your head and increase your well being. It will also help you maintain a healthy weight and sleep better.
  • Keep a schedule. Plan time for academics and study, clubs, work, etc. Seeing it on a screen or on paper will relieve the running around in your head and also allow you to see spaces where you can plan time for yourself and to be with those you love. Once you’ve made a plan, stick to it!
  • Don’t neglect your relationships. Friends, family and significant others know your life as a resident is crazy but they still need you and you benefit from your interaction with them. Make sure there are times when you turn off all the school/residency noise and just focus on being with the important people in your life.
  • Don’t forget sleep. No one can exist solely on caffeine. Make sure you get some solid blocks of sleep in or you will start to experience negative physical and mental side effects.

At IPED, sharing ideas is a fundamental part of our mission and just one of the many advantages of membership. To learn more, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our podiatric professionals will tell you that learning balance between work and the rest of your life now is a skill that will serve you well your entire career.

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