Medical School and Burn Out

If you're a fellow second year medical student, you know that it is officially Board-Study Season. And I don't know about you, but I definitely feel the stress already. A few medical students who are a year or two ahead of me gave some of the same tips, and it is this: DON'T GET BURNED OUT. Does this phrase give any one else chills? It's a topic that is commonly thrown around within the medical community - whether students, residents or so on. Now that we're officially in this season of life where it seems like the "end of this tunnel" will never come, I truly believe that this is one of the times in my life in which I really need to be more aware of my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health - so as to prevent this thing called "burn out". 

As if I, and other medical students don't already get "burned out" from constantly studying during the year, we now have one more thing on our plate - a big thing - that we are up against. So what can I do now to hopefully keep this burning out thing at bay? 

1. Community - surrounding myself with friends who are on the same mission, as well as those who can encourage me and keep me grounded is crucial. I've been blessed with friendships here at medical school and back home where I can go to those friends for encouragement, advice, fun - anything really. Another thing that ties in with this is "intentionality" (is that even a word?) because these friendships and relationships are not cultivated without putting in time and effort. 

2. Fitness & Eating Clean - I've talked about this before in a previous post, but I love working out. My body can tell when I haven't been moving and eating well, and it tells me to get movin' and get back on track. I guess I've become more aware or in-tune with my body, which is something important especially with the very busy life I lead. It's important to know when it's time to slow down, take care of yourself, so that you can better focus on your goals. Exercise & meal prep! Exercising not only keeps you physically fit, but also mentally fit! But HEY - don't forget to treat yo'self though. Take rests days and if you're needing that chocolate, ice cream, chips (whatever your weakness is) - GO FOR IT - just remember, everything in moderation

3. Faith - whether times are good or tough, my faith is something near and dear to me. I know that no matter what happens, I can fall back on it and know that everything will be ok. Life is not perfect and things don't always happen as I think they would. But I know that if I continue to believe and have faith that things will work out for the best, they usually do! 

4. Take Breaks - so simple, but easily forgotten. I try to talk to my parents every day even if it's just a little bit. And if you didn't already know - I'm engaged (EEP!) - So it's important to still be able to spend time and talk with the fiance! On top of all of this we are wedding planning. Am I crazy? (Maybe later on I'll write about my experience of planning a wedding while in medical school?) I don't know, but all of these things I've mentioned are more important now that ever! So I take breaks, watch my shows and get a good laugh. Hang out with my friends, and blog too ;)

I'm hoping that these things will carry me through the next few months, and even through the rest of my career in medicine.

What are your favorite ways to prevent burn out? Have you experienced it yourself? What did you do to recover? I'm all ears to any advice! 

xo, Dorothy 

PS. Aren't those pillows the cutest? This is one of my current favorites because I need all the motivation I can get for these next few months. Check more out at F R E E L Y by clicking here. (Many thanks to my friend Ashley @ F R E E L Y for this wonderful piece). 

It's a Lifestyle

Practice what you preach, they say. 

But let's be real, unless you have more than 24 hours in one day, how are you going to be able to do medical school, eat right, exercise, sleep enough hours!? 

It's truly about learning the act of balancing everything, and keeping priorities straight - and treating yo'self!

One of my goals during this year was to keep up with working out and eating healthy. Last year, I was pretty flaky about it, especially since it was my first year of medical school & trying to figure everything out. You'd think by the time a few weeks rolled around, I would have a routine down - but nope. So this year, I am really making it a goal to make sure I'm fueling my body right by eating healthy and working out consisitently

Food - I love food. I love good food. So I have to get real creative about meals that I can prep for about 5 days that I won't get tired of eating. I'd usually make 2 dishes (one for lunch and one for dinner). Then I'll just mix it up for breakfast, depending how much time I have. If I have less time, i'll go for fruit and granola/cereal, but lately I've been making oatbran or cream of wheat and mixing a scoop of protein powder in it and adding fruit on top! 

Working Out - Okay, I'm guilty: I love working out. I try to go 5-6 times a week (sometimes 4 if it's an extremely busy week). Basically, I'm going off my sis's workout sched (for the most part, sometimes I switch it up), for what I do that specific day. With such a busy schedule, I really have to make time for going to the gym and other activities. I try to keep my workouts for an hour to hour and a half - the way I think about it, if I just sit in front of my study materials all day and take 346284 breaks, the time it took for those breaks could just instead be put into my workout time. That way, I'm able to study more efficiently too! 

But listen, I'm human so I go through those times too when I just want to sit in front of the tv, watch netflix, eat ice cream, and chips. So no need to think I'm perfect at eating healthy and working out - I'm not and that's okay! I get it, us type-A's are too hard on ourselves (a lot of the time), but it's not the end of the world if you have a bad day or bad week. Just get back on track - that's what matters! 

I really do love that I'm at an Osteopathic Medical School, where I get to learn about how we are to take care of our patient's body, mind, and spirit also - which reinforces that I have to take care of myself as well.

I too, have to practice what I preach. 

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