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Identifying Triggers and Improving your Wellbeing

Updated on: 19 Jan 2021   First published on 13 Jan 2021

During periods of great stress, whether at home or at work, your mental health is particularly vulnerable. There are a number of triggers that can leave you feeling like your wellbeing is suffering. Anticipating such events can help you better prepare for them and avoid being burned twice.

You can build strategies to help you cope when experiencing a stressful and triggering event. For example, writing a journal, meditation, focusing on a hobby such as a musical instrument, employing time management tactics to cope with a busy schedule, or talking to a colleague, team leader, or someone senior to discuss getting help managing your workload.

Self-reflection and taking time for yourself helps you refocus on your own values and goals, as well as assess if you’re following them. Opening up and talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness and can greatly improve how you feel. It can help with an issue you’ve been carrying around for a while and just being listened to can make you feel more supported and less alone. Read our article on opening up the conversation about mental health.

Various events in both your home and work life can trigger a dip in mental health. Some common triggers to be aware of include:

Domestic triggers Professional triggers
Relationship breakdown Appraisals and revalidation
Financial stress Professional exams and career progression
Unwell child/partner/parent Working out of hours
Missing important events Dealing or being involved with complaints
Being far away from loved ones Exposure to traumatic events
Moving house Geographical uncertainty of placements
Bereavement Difficult work relationships
Ill health Heavy workloads

(adapted from rcplondon.ac.uk)

It’s important to know that help is available to you, with resources dedicated to helping doctors struggling with mental health. Acknowledging your struggles and reaching out to those closest to you, be it family or colleagues, is a good first step in feeling better.

Reacting to triggers is normal. Responding to them appropriately can help you avoid a downward spiral leading to you feeling worse. Recognising triggers means you can better prepare yourself and develop strategies to deal with them, as well as improve your coping skills. You can also explore our list of useful links for more information on getting help on our Wellbeing Resources homepage.

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