A little bit about finding balance in medical school (and life)

What a crazy past few weeks it has been!

Unfortunately, I have been so busy with clerkships that I have been unable to get out and get a breath of fresh air. My schedule is pretty intense working 12 hour days and night shifts that I haven’t really had the time to destress. Apart from that, I have also been doing a lot of studying whenever I get a free chance. Essentially my life is the hospital and studying- with some interspersed attempts at eating healthy and staying in shape.

Even though I’ve been busy, I have been trying to to strike a healthy balance, which I feel is so important in medical school. I don’t want to look back at this moment in life in the future and think that I could have enjoyed it more. So I have been focusing on not only enjoying my educational experience, but also enjoying life. To this end, I have been implementing a few things to keep me afloat especially when I feel like I am burning out.

Here are a few things I’ve implemented which have brought some balance into my life:

  1. Getting out to Central Park. If you have followed me from the beginning, you know how much I love this park. In fact, it is one of my favorite places in NYC. I have been making a conscious effort to make it to the park and sit in the lawn while I read some material for my clerkships. I feel like doing this in open air helps dissipate some of the exhaustion after long weeks of work and can be a nice way to get some breath of fresh air.
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  2. Not existing in a bubble. One of the things that is different about being a MD-PhD student is that you enter third year with a completely new class. Essentially I knew no one coming into my third year. In fact, most of the third years are more than halfway through their clinical year, while I am just starting. So, I have been trying not to exist in my own bubble. I tend to be a very reserved person, but lately I have been stepping out of my comfort zone. In clinic this is somewhat easier because you have to work with other medical students effectively and part of this entails communicating with them. However, outside of clinic, I have been trying to get to know my classmates. This means I have been showing up to happy hours and I’m actively trying to get to know them. Even though it means stepping out of my comfort zone, I think this is a great idea to get to know people and also learn about different perspectives. I am always surprised by the depth of life experiences a lot of my new classmates have. So, there has been lots of beer drinking and food. If you are in the UES, you should check out Maya (their margaritas are excellent) and Milk and Hops (great grilled cheese sandwiches).
  3. Eating healthy and working out. I am not one to preach about this because this has been particularly hard. I had to suspend my yoga membership earlier this month because I have no time to make it to my yoga studio (Yogi dreams are on hold for now 😔). I have also not been making my own meals lately and find myself eating at the hospital or grabbing something to go from a restaurant. I need to work on this 🙁.  In order to keep myself healthy, I have been doing sporadic workouts when I get a chance and trying to choose the healthier dietary options when I am eating out. I am working on this, but I know that as soon as my body starts feeling sluggish or my hips start bothering me, this will have to change. Hopefully, I will gain some motivation to do this even though I come home exhausted or would rather study with the free time I do have. Suggestions anyone?
  4. Enjoying music. I love music 🎶 . I am trying to make it to some concerts this fall (if my schedule permits). BUT in the meantime I have been listening to new releases. Lately I have been listening to Oh Wonder, The National (currently in love with their new album), Bleachers, Daughter, most recent albums. There is nothing like a good song to just keep me revitalized and in a good mood when it is 5:30am and I sluggishly getting out of bed because I need to be in the hospital in thirty minutes.
  5. Cuddling with my cats. I have two cats. Two lovely cats who I don’t get to hang out with as often as I did when I was in graduate school. When I get home and have those moments of complete exhaustion, and before taking a much needed nap, I usually cuddle with my cats. I’m not sure if they miss me, but I sure do miss seeing them throughout the day.

Oh and I also like taking photos, so here are a few snapshots of the past few weeks!

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How have you all been?

How do you guys find balance when things are hectic/busy in life?

xoxoxo,

M 👩🏻

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