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Is your residency sending your stress levels through the stratosphere? Take a deep breath and read on: Here are six ways to deal with stress as a resident.

Residency work is demanding. Long hours, lack of sleep and personal time, and now add in the pressure of handling COVID-19 issues. Who would blame a resident for feeling overwhelmed? Take a deep breath and read on: here are six ways to get a handle on your stress.


Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is all about paying attention in the present moment and focusing on one thing at a time. Essentially, it is a practice that helps you manage stress by using a combination of mindfulness meditation, square breathing, body awareness and yoga. Some therapists specialize in MBSR treatment, but you can also try the practice for yourself with apps like Calm or Headspace. Look for guided meditation or yoga classes of all levels on YouTube for easy at-home tutorials.

Eat Right

Complex carbs like those found in whole grain breads, pasta and cereals may trigger the brain to produce serotonin — the calming, feel-good brain chemical. Take care of yourself by prepping meals that include stress-busting foods.

Make a Financial Plan

Money can be a huge source of stress, especially if you don’t have a clear budget in place. Keeping track of your spending and staying on top of your budget can be crucial to lowering stress. So, figure out a realistic financial plan that works for you. If finance isn’t in your wheelhouse, find a good financial advisor to help. Talk to one of the RBC Healthcare Specialists. With this weight off your shoulders you may feel better equipped to handle the stress residency throws your way.

Young woman hugging a dog

Animal Therapy

You’ve probably seen animal therapy in use between a patient and a trained therapy animal, but residents can also use it as a treatment for stress, depression, anxiety and pretty much any other condition that plagues residents. Whether formal or informal, interacting with a gentle, friendly animal may give you a sense of calm.


If you don’t have the time or energy to hit the gym, dancing on your own or with friends can relax your mind and boost your mood. Dance prompts the brain to release endorphins and serotonin more than exercise alone and may even help with cognitive function.


Research shows that listening to music can have health benefits, including the ability to decrease the stress hormone cortisol. Whatever your taste in music, try building your own stress-relieving playlist and take a much-needed break with your favourite tunes.