One of the questions I get most is how do I find balance. It is no secret that medical school can not only be stressful, but also extremely time consuming. It can be very hard to peel yourself away from the books and make time for friends, family, and most importantly, yourself. Maintaining balance, no matter your career path, is so incredibly important. Here are a few things that I do to keep myself from becoming wrapped up in school and work.
Have a weekly "Self-Care" day
While I attempt to make sure and take time for myself daily, I would be lying if I said I didn't fall asleep with my makeup on at least once a week. I try to spend the time and make a point of "getting ready for bed." There is something relaxing about washing your face, applying night cream, putting on comfy pajamas, and crawling into bed. Once a week (usually Sunday), I like to bump it up a notch and derma-plane my face, do a hair mask, or shape my brows. And if you know me, you know I do my nails religiously every other Sunday ;-)
Stay on top of house chores
This one isn't so fun, but it is key, at least for me, to maintaining balance. Coming home to a clean house after a long day of work is MUCH better than coming home to a mess. To keep the house from becoming an overwhelming disaster, I try to do something each day to keep it clean. I also try to never go to bed with dishes in the sink or things on the floor. It doesn't always happen, but i try :-) For those that have asked about how I keep the house (somewhat) free of dog hair, I sing my robot vaccum's praises everyday. Seriously, love this little guy. It is much cheaper than some of the other brands out there, and it does a great job of sucking up all the dog hair and dirt that gets tracked into the house. It also goes over all of our rugs (even our thick jute rug) with ease!
As an extremely Type-A person, this is a tough one. I am so lucky to have Baxter, who is my polar opposite, always taking me on an adventure. The guy never sits down! These photos were taken a few weeks ago when I had an afternoon off and didn't have to be at work until the next afternoon. Baxter suggested that we take that time and set up camp somewhere! So we drove to a lake right outside Tulsa, built a campfire, roasted smores, played fetch with Rosie, and just relaxed. It was so good for the soul, let me tell ya! If camping isn't your cup of tea, take your days off to be a tourist in your own town! Check out the local museums, events, or historical sites. It is amazing how some of us can live in a town for years and never experience all that it has to offer.
Do NOT procrastinate
Obvious, I know, but SO important! You know that awful feeling you get the night before an assignment is due and you are scrambling to get it done? Well, I hate it so much that I try to avoid it at all costs. In undergrad, I would spend my Sundays getting all of my assignments done for the week. So much of it was busywork and just required me to focus and get it done. I would make a to-do list and bust it out (with the help of coffee and good music). This allowed me to focus on exams, quizzes, and other things during the week. Now that my load of "busy work" has decreased, it is a little harder to get everything done on Sunday, but I make a point to get a few things crossed of my to-do list each day.
Make time for friends
This is a huge one. It can be hard to justify hanging out with your friends when you have an exam coming up, but taking the time to have fun can be good for your mental health and allow you to have more focus when you get back to the books. I have the most amazing, supportive group of girlfriends that are so understanding when I say that I can only meet up for a quick visit. I try to kill two birds with one stone as much as I can. Quick dinner with friends (because you have to eat anyways!), trips to the dog park (the pups get exercise and we get to catch up), exercise class (y'all know I love my spin classes, especially with my gals!), or coffee dates (because you can never turn down an excuse for caffeine).