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Wellness Workshop Series

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2020-2021 Postgraduate Wellness Workshop Series

The Postgraduate Wellness Office offers workshops to support the well-being, learning and performance of residents and clinical fellows. Workshops are meant to be both informative and interactive, with a focus on building on existing strengths of trainees, while also fostering new perspectives and possibilities. Workshops are offered to Programs during their academic program time.

Our workshops are 1.5 or 2 hours in length. This allows for interactive components and discussion, both of which are frequently identified as valuable aspects on trainee evaluations of our workshops. In order to foster an environment of open discussion, our wellness workshops are intended for postgraduate medical learners as opposed to mixed groups of trainees and staff.

If your program is interested in offering one of our listed workshops, you would like to connect with our office to develop something on another topic specific to your program’s needs, or if you have any questions about our offerings, please contact our administrative co-ordinator Diana Nuss at

Please note: We are currently offering our workshops virtually and will continue to do so until it becomes appropriate to once again offer in-person workshops. In order to maintain the interactive and discussion aspects of our workshops, we request that trainees have their video and audio on during workshops and are in a location where they can engage in discussion.


1) Residency during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Coping with Uncertainty and Change 

This workshop aims to facilitate a practical discussion of the professional and personal challenges faced by postgraduate medical trainees during COVID-19 including experiences such as redeployment, isolation, and changed plans. We will explore strategies to stay present and engaged at work in the face of stress and uncertainty and how to engage in self care in realistic ways given the demands and new realities of training during a pandemic.

**Please note the content of this workshop will be adapted as things continue to change.


2) Coping with Imposter Syndrome in Medical Life

Coping with imposter syndrome, perfectionistic anxiety, and self-doubt can be stressful. This workshop aims to examine how the culture of medicine, particularly within training, can foster and/or exacerbate a sense of inadequacy among its members, which can hinder learning and clinical performance. We will review relevant theories and related research with respect to imposter syndrome, perfectionism, mindsets, and decision making in terms of their applicability to medical training. Through an interactive format, we will aim to not only provide tools for postgraduate medical trainees to manage their own distress and enhance their learning and clinical performance, but also to consider how practical and achievable changes within the medical training environment could foster safer spaces to learn and work


3) Downward Docs – Mindful Yoga and Medicine Workshop
** can be offered as ‘Chair Yoga’ or a regular yoga class in participants’ own home via Zoom **

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our daily routines. Exercise might not be at the top of our minds, especially when juggling virtual clinics and zoom meetings, however as health care providers, it is important for us to stay physically healthy, especially during times of stress and change. For many of us who are sitting at our desks for longer periods of time, simple stretches can help clear our minds and relieve muscle tension. Downward Docs focuses on mindfulness, mindful movement, physicals awareness and group reflection – and can all be delivered through Zoom. Downward Docs can be offered as Chair Yoga or as a regular yoga class on mats, all in your own home. Let the exercise come to you!
Research evidence supporting the application of mindfulness in medical practice is presented. The workshop concludes with a discussion on integrating mindfulness and breath work into health care provider’s personal and professional lives and wellness interventions that can be instituted at the individual and system level during these unique pandemic times. The instructor for the workshop, Dr. Tali Bogler is a certified yoga instructor and academic family physician in Toronto.

Participants will need:
Chair Yoga: 1 chair. Yes, it’s that simple!
Regular Yoga: Mat (or soft surface) and 2 blocks (or 2 books) for support


4) Learning from and Coping with Adverse Events and Medical Error: It’s when not if

Adverse events and medical error have emotional impacts on physicians. This workshop will explore the relationships between medical error and adverse events with professional and personal growth. We will also discuss the potential impact of hidden curriculum about perfectionism and learning in medical life. While we will review related literature, the emphasis of the workshop will be on facilitating a safe discussion to support sharing, reflection, self-care, and learning as residents and clinical fellows.


5) Enhancing Exam Preparation and Performance

The workshop will address how to engage in optimal learning and exam preparation (OSCEs and written exams) while taking into account the many demands of postgraduate medical training. The workshop will help participants increase awareness of their own strengths and needs with respect to learning in residency including how anxiety may impact preparation for, and performance during exams. We will also discuss how to address self-care to enhance learning and performance both before and during exam seasons.


6) Managing Energy and Fatigue Risk in Medical Training

Drawing on a multi-disciplinary approach to physical, cognitive, emotional and motivational fatigue, this workshop outlines current knowledge for managing the multiple factors that influence fatigue risk and energy in postgraduate medical training. Practical and realistic strategies will be discussed to identify and cope with fatigue risk and challenges with sleep and low energy. Trainees will be encouraged to consider which strategies may best fit with their needs and current situations, taking into account potential systemic and personal barriers and challenges.


7) Managing Transitions in Medical Life: Enhancing Resident Resilience and Performance

This workshop uses a psychological model of transition to outline the inner challenges and adaptive changes that medical trainees frequently encounter. Triggers for downward spirals will be explored, as well as key behaviours for initiating upward spirals in a variety of contexts. Through large and small group discussion, participants explore common challenges and coping strategies. Brief mindfulness techniques, reflection exercises and solution focused discussions help participants increase their understanding of self-regulatory processes that enhance self- awareness, well-being and optimal performance during residency and beyond.


8) Mindfulness in Medical Life

This workshop is primarily a skills-based and experiential approach to learning and integrating mindfulness/attentional skills. The workshop offers a brief overview of contemporary research on mindfulness and the documented effects on reducing stress, increasing concentration, and supporting emotional regulation, ultimately improving medical performance. By reviewing a variety of practical strategies to incorporate greater mindfulness into everyday life, trainees will be encouraged to expand their understanding of mindfulness beyond meditation. Different mindfulness techniques will be practiced throughout the workshop to allow trainees an opportunity to explore and identify which mindfulness exercises work best for them personally.


9) Responding to Microaggressions Through Allyship and Reporting Tools

Microaggressions are everyday comments or actions that subtly express a stereotype of, or prejudice towards, a marginalized group. Even if the intention was not to cause harm, microaggressions have a huge impact on an individual’s wellbeing. Microaggressions are a pervasive problem in health care education and services. Surveys have demonstrated that individuals at the Faculty of Medicine not only experience, but also witness microaggressions happening. This provides an opportunity for allies to intervene, and help create more inclusive and equitable spaces. Being an ally – allyship — can be difficult, and this workshop will provide engaging ways in which participants can learn about and practice responses to the injustices that arise in health care settings. The workshop will use interactive dialogue, small group discussions, and case studies, and will also provide participants with tools and resources to pursue further learning about allyship.

This workshop is offered and facilitated by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.


10) Team Work and Leadership for Psychological Safety

This workshop will explore how leadership and teamwork dynamics can impact performance and learning within postgraduate medical training and beyond. We will review theory and research related to psychological safety, emotional intelligence, teamwork and leadership dynamics. We will also explore how to enhance resilience and well-being, and reduce risk of burnout in medical life.

Like all PGWO workshops, the format is interactive, and seeks to draw out and build on the existing knowledge and experiences of the participants and their contexts, while also fostering new perspectives and possibilities.


 11) Working with Emotions in Medical Life

This workshop focuses on increasing awareness of the many links between emotional states and performance and well-being. Risks for compassion fatigue, burnout and emotional exhaustion are covered, as well as the hidden curriculum that may exist around emotions in medical life. Strategies for increasing awareness of emotions, deepening connections, and opportunities for finding meaning in one’s work are explored through experiential learning and group discussion.



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