Resilience – preparing your action plan

I recently attended a talk on the OMA’s Physician Health Program where they discussed THE BASICS guide to helping physicians develop strategies for coping with stress and building personal resilience.  This is a quick and worthwhile read.  BASICS stands for:

  • Body: Allostatic load, homeostasis, nutrition, toxins, sleep, exercise, personal care
  • Affect: Personality/stress/suffering, perfectionism, cognitive distortions, changing thinking & changing feeling
  • Social: Connections with family and friends
  • Intellect: Intellectual diversion, occupational considerations, control, change, choice
  • Community: Barriers to community & genuine community
  • Spirituality: Practices that enhance resilience

Why not create your own resilience action plan using the BASICS Checklist!


Interview: mindfulness in the medical curriculum

Medicine is always thought of as one of the most stressful careers. Therefore, achieving a good balance in life is a milestone we all strive towards – in order to cultivate our fullest potential and be our best self. Mindfulness meditation is one example of a path that can help us pursue our passion for medicine without the associated stress.

To explore this further, Jennifer DCruz, University of Ottawa MD2019 Candidate, interviews their pre-clerkship coordinator, Dr. Heather MacLean, about her thoughts on practicing mindfulness as a Neurologist, and integrating it into the curriculum for all pre-clerkship students.


Exercise as wellness

I recently learnt that some animals have an innate ability to literally shake off stress when they go through a frightening/stressful experience. This of course reminded me of the Taylor Swift song “Shake it Off” and also got me thinking about how movement and particularly exercise can be used to shake off stress and promote wellness. Here are some great ways I discovered to get moving:

1. Hiking: I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by how many beautiful trails and parks there are in big cities where you may not expect them; in Hamilton for example we have the Cootes Paradise Trail and the Bayfront Trail, as well as waterfall hikes. Going to a waterfall in the winter can also be a beautiful experience to see the layer of frost covering everything! You can also check to see if your school has an outdoor club that organizes hikes.

2. Gym: When I first started going to the gym I found the classes really helpful to get started on a fitness routine, and overtime learnt to use the machines and plan my own workout. I found the staff and even the other people at the gym really helpful for any questions I had. One of the great things about my gym, is that I can freeze my membership if I’m going to be out of town on an elective until I get back. This really helps me get the most out of my membership and could be worth asking about at your local gym!

3. Skating: This semester our tutorial group went skating at an outdoor skating rink. It was a great bonding activity and a great workout; especially if some group members haven’t gone skating before, it can be a great way to try a new activity and explore the city.

Guided meditations

I recently came across Harvard University’s Center for Wellness mindfulness page ( which included the following guided meditations:

Koru Mindfulness Guided Meditations 
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction