Studying for the didactic years of medical school and Steps 1 and 2 can be mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically challenging. Here are some self-care tips I’ve learned over the past few years of school that have helped me be the healthiest version of me I can be during these grueling times:
- Be comfortable when studying. I texted my older brother one day at the beginning of Step 2 studying, whining that I wished I could just wear my pajamas to the library. He responded back that I probably couldn’t, but I could do the next best thing: wear scrubs! This season of the medical school journey is not a fashion show. Don’t feel bad about slumming it in sweats or workout clothes. The more comfortable you are, the easier you’ll be able to focus.
- That goes for your body, too. About a week into Step 2 studying, all of upper back/shoulder pain from slouching while hovering over my computer from first and second years of school came back to me. I bought a $30 laptop stand that brings your laptop up to eye level and a $6 computer mouse on Amazon that seriously did wonders for my posture. It was well worth the investment!
- Get up and move. An online yoga company focusing on runners was hosting a free month promotion for the month of July, and I took full advantage of the opportunity! I set an alarm on my phone for 45 minutes to an hour, worked hard for that period of time, and made sure to do one of the 5 minute stretching videos in between question sets to break up the hours of sitting time. The ones targeting hip flexors were particularly painful/awesome. Getting up to take a walk outside and get some fresh air or even just a lap around the library were also much needed short breaks throughout the day.
- Sleep. I have trouble sleeping when I’m stressed out, but prioritizing sleep is essential when you’re studying hard. When you’re well-rested, you’re a better student. And also, less grumpy. 🙂
- Call your loved ones. They want to hear from and encourage you. Seriously, do it.