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. Comfortable workout clothing can be found at https://www.ryderwear.co.uk/collections/womens.
- 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.