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Wellbeing is a combination of our physical self, our financial security, loving what we do each day, the quality of our relationships and contributing to our communities. Wellbeing is about a mindful, purposeful life. And it looks different for every person.

Wellness comprises of eight mutually co-dependent dimensions: emotional, physical, occupational, social, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and financial. If any one of these dimensions is neglected over time, it will adversely affect one's health, well-being, and quality of life.

The intern year is a big step in life from medical student to doctor and is a time of significant change. There will be many challenges across the year and a focus on your own wellbeing is essential.

Top Ten Tips

  1. It is OK to ask for help when you need it. You are at the start of your career journey and are not expected to know everything or to be able to manage everything.
  2. Tap into all the resources you have in relation to patient care and practical matters. Nursing staff, allied health, pharmacists, practice managers, receptionists and ward staff are very valuable sources of information.
  3. Establish a network of supports including colleagues, family and friends that you can turn to when you need to talk. Know who you can call on for emotional support. Know where to get expert help if you encounter difficult situations at work. Make sure you have your own GP.
  4. Don’t be too hard on yourself and be self-compassionate. Know how best to decompress and relax in a healthy way when you have had a hard day. When you are dealing with distressing and traumatic situations acknowledge your emotions as you are human. It is OK to be vulnerable. Debriefing is important after a critical incident.
  5. Prioritise sleep and make sure your sleeping environment is dark, relaxing, comfortable and quiet. Make sure the room temperature is right for you. Aim for 7 to 8 hours sleep daily.
  6. Plan and consume healthy meals. Consider using ready prepared meals when you are on a busy rotation. Have plenty of healthy snacks across your shifts at work and carry a water bottle with you to avoid dehydration. Having a coffee with colleagues is a great way to take a break during a busy day. Have a break at lunchtime and if possible, go outside the building for fresh air and a walk.
  7. When not working prioritise time to do things you enjoy. Keep up your hobbies and interests and enjoy social time. Include activities such as exercise, creative activities, music, dance, meditation, gardening, time outdoors, reading, volunteering and time with friends and family. Your intern year is a good time to focus on outside interests before you commit to training pathways and further research and study. The pathway to fellowship will take a few years.
  8. Spend some time planning your finances and set your financial goals for the next few years. Get expert advice about salary packaging, superannuation, investment, taxation and loans.
  9. Reflect regularly on your experiences and how you are feeling. Identify what you enjoy in medicine and how this may direct your future career pathway.
  10. Learn from every experience and acknowledge your growth and confidence as a doctor.

Further reading