Balancing Act: Managing Stress and Well-Being in Medical Residency

Posted on June 4, 2024 by Karen John Mannuzza, MA, LCMHC, CEAP

Updated June 4, 2024

79 percent of residents agree there is stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help for it1. Flourishing at different career stages starts with accepting the humanity and needs of physicians and clinicians. For leaders that means well-being efforts must be dynamic and responsive and for residents, taking ownership to address your very human, expected needs. Below are tips to improve your whole-person well-being during residency.


Your Physical Needs

  • Prioritize adequate sleep and rest.

  • Take time to relax daily, learn how to regulate yourself and de-stress when you start to feel overwhelmed.

  • Healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, try to purposefully move your body or have a healthy snack.


Seek Support and Build a Support Network

  • Utilize peer support groups. Talking with others who understand the demands of being a resident can help validate and affirm what you’re feeling.

  • Talk to mentors and supervisors.

  • Consider professional coaching or counseling.


Time Management

  • Set realistic goals. Try micro-goal setting to help build momentum and confidence around your goals.

  • Learn to delegate tasks when possible. Are there tasks at home that could be delegated?


Coping with Stress

  • Practice mindfulness and meditation techniques. Even just a quick mindfulness break can help your focus and ability to be more present.

  • Deep breathing exercises can reduce stress, anxiety and negative emotions, and sharpen your concentration.

  • Positive self-talk and reframing perspectives. Residency is taxing on all aspects of your life. Give yourself grace and challenge any negative self-talk.


We Can Help

Residency is a demanding time—but we can help you fully embrace all the challenges that come with it. Coaching and counseling are just some of the resources from VITAL WorkLife that can help nurture your joy in medicine and keep an optimal work and life balance.

For members of our Well-Being Resources, call 877.731.3949 to speak with one of our Well- Being Coordinators, anytime—day or night.

If you’re an organization looking to support your residents more fully, please get in contact by filling out our Prospective Clients form.

Interested in learning more?

Contact Us


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