lifestyle

Four Qualities that Unlock Positive Mental and Emotional Health

The journey to becoming a doctor is a marathon, not a sprint, we are often told. I am three years into a potentially 8-13 yearlong journey toward becoming the physician and researcher that I aspire to be. In this short glimpse into what will undoubtedly be a challenging and rewarding experience, I have learned there are a few important qualities that every student should obtain – both to be a better future doctor and a happier student in the process. These traits have been picked up by seeing my friends who possess them, mentors and advisors that dispense wisdom to me, and through self-evaluation. While many of the qualities are easily obtainable and maintainable, sometimes the hardest part about self-reflection and improvement is taking the time to do it! In 2018, one of my goals is to practice self-reflection more often as a way to monitor my mental and emotional health. Here are some of the qualities that I think make life better, happier, and easier. Humility It is so easy to get caught up in the competitive, sometimes cut-throat nature that fosters itself among high-achieving and highly successful students. In these times, I have found it imperative to practice humility among your accomplished peers. While this quality is often resisted because of the need for self-validation, I believe the best feeling of accomplishment is in the celebration of...

The Power of Maintaining Relationships in Medical School

I recently got a talking to from my best friend because I had not talked to her in 6 months. The unfortunate truth of being a student is that you rarely have free nights and weekends. Maintaining relationships (friendship, romantic, or family) can be challenging when school work transcends all boundaries of your life. I always feel like I have something to study and don’t quite have real Saturday’s. Sleeping in, for example, is a luxury. In the case of my friend, she was a student when were in college 6 years ago. I forgot that she forgot what being a student is like. One of the key skills you must master as a student is time management. And that skill should apply to all aspects your life, especially your personal life. The weeks I do not have much time to catch up with my home friends or family are terrible for me. Your relationships outside of school work are critical to keep you sane and happy. They act as a buffer from the daily stress. Being able to talk about your day is such a huge relief, especially with someone who isn’t in the trenches with you. Venting to a classmate helps, but I rarely get as much out of the conversation as I do when talking to someone completely removed from the situation. My relationships also give...

How Do You Imagine Your Future Career As A Physician?

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it. Lying down in bed at night right before you’re about to go to sleep, imagining your life after 15 years when you are an independent, practicing physician. We all know what it’s going to take to get there – working your butt off, passion for the field, etcetera etcetera. However, given the people of science that we are, it might be worthwhile to look at it from a more objective lens. In other words, here’s the question that I want to try to answer – what are the factors that contribute to the decision you make when choosing a specialty? Inside the OR vs. Outside the OR vs. Somewhere in the Middle I would encourage you to reference an earlier article I wrote where I described the process that every first year medical student should consider going through, trying to shadow in as many specialties as possible in order to figure out between medicine and surgery. In my opinion, this is the most important decision that you need to make while you are still in infancy for the long road ahead. If you like being in the OR and nothing else, then you should do something in surgery. If you can live without the OR, but still want to do something procedural, then you should look into something along...

How To Avoid Winter Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression, often known as Winter Depression, that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. The symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter, often beginning in autumn and lasting throughout the darker months. Some sufferers may feel the effects right up until the weather improves and days become lighter in the spring. The symptoms can include a persistent low mood, lack of energy, loss of interest in every day tasks, sleeping for longer than normal and finding it difficult to get up in the morning, irritability, a tendency to over-eat or under-eat and social withdrawal. Although the symptoms can vary in severity, they can greatly impact day-to-day activities and have a real effect on the sufferer’s life.   Aside from the different forms of counseling such as Mindfulness Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the use of light therapy to simulate light within your own home and reduce the negative effects that darker days can have. Within everyday routines it is important to maintain a healthy diet and add in elements such as complex carbs and Omega-3 to sustain energy levels and to boost mood. Overall it’s essential for sufferers to remember that they are not alone and there are strategies to take to relive symptoms. Mattress Online have looked into the treatment and prevention of SAD...

How Much Could Nurse Practitioners Earn?

Becoming a nurse practitioner may offer a number of perks, which, depending on the employer, can include flexible work schedules, childcare services, and educational benefits.[i] While these can be great benefits, many students considering whether or not to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner want to know how much could nurse practitioners earn. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average median salary for nurse practitioners across the country is $107,460 a year or $51.67 per hour.[ii] But those figures can range depending on the industry, the work environment, and where you live. This infographic from GradSchools.com, the authority resource on everything about graduate schools and graduate degrees on the web, breaks down the highest paying states and metropolitan areas, the top paying industries and work environments, and how much you might make as a nurse practitioner in your area. In the coming years, there may even be more opportunities for you enter this profession. In fact, the BLS projects the number of nurse practitioners will increase 36% for the ten years 2016 to 2026.[iii] So, if you’re considering pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner or if you have any questions about the potential earnings, click on the infographic for all the answers. How much could Nurse Practitioners Earn Courtesy of gradschools.com [i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5 [ii] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-1 [iii]...

How To Handle Long-Distance Relationships in Medical School

This month alone, I heard about five classmates who recently broke up with their significant other due to distance. Relationships, in general, are hard let alone maintaining a special bond with someone miles away. FaceTime just can’t replace being with the one you love in real life. And each subsequent year of school comes with its own stressors which in turn weighs heavily on the relationship, especially with someone who is not a student. But, despite the challenges, long distance relationships can absolutely last in school. I’ve frequently heard others say that long distance relationships never work. I think this generalization is far too extreme. A relationship, after all, is between two people. And if those two people are both willing to commit and to sacrifice, then the relationship is bound to last. For those who prefer to focus on the positive aspects of a long-distance relationship, it can a reliable source of stress relief and a much needed escape from the monotony of studying and test-taking. Knowing you can pick up the phone at the end of the day to hear a loving, supportive voice helps to make harsh faculty feedback less hurtful, to make a bad grade less important, to make endless studying more manageable. Spending most of your 20’s as a financially dependent student can be defeating. Being in a relationship can give you a strong...

How To Remind Yourself Why You’re In Medical School Studying

In the middle of a semester where the days are filled with endless studying, lab work, real work, homework, club responsibilities, and an attempt at a social life, it is very important to remember why you are doing it all. For me, I anticipated this semester to be one of the most challenging – full of three upper-level science classes and an English class, a TA for organic chemistry, two jobs, two leadership positions in clubs, in addition to a slurry of other unnamed obligations that I am thankful I get to do. I admit, though, that my mindset the entire semester has been to just get through it, while maintaining my GPA, friendships and social life, and my mental health. In the midst of studying late nights for physics exams or waking up early to review biochemistry notes, I became unaware of the wave that is carrying me through the semester. I think this is a popular defense mechanism; it is essentially focusing on surviving instead of thriving. However, as I am carried along the wave characterized by work, school, and sleep, I easily lose sight of why any of it matters. I live in the mindset of “just get it done”. If you’re in this type of semester or phase of life, I urge you to find yourself something that will daily, weekly, or monthly remind you...

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