As the weeks go on, the stress builds up and the workload increases. This quarter I’m trying to find more ways to help reduce my stress. Last quarter I got so lost in school work that I let my health become second priority and my body suffered EXTREMELY around finals week. Sometimes, I feel like my body is in a constant state of stress and anxiety as I try to keep track of studying/reviewing lectures and meeting deadlines for papers and discussion posts. SO, here is my plan for this quarter to manage stress better:
- Regularly working out every week (6-7 days) – so far, so good!
- Healthy eating – I really, really let my diet slip last quarter. It was something that slowly happened as the weeks went by and it didn’t hit me until I became sick near finals week. I was eating out A LOT, and not eating enough at home. This quarter I created an eating schedule with set meals for each time.
- Meditating – I struggle with this so much because I have a hard time sitting still (I get this weird feeling like I’m burning up inside and I get fidgety). An upperclassmen suggested that I start with 30 seconds, and slowly increase the length of meditation.
- Practicing more gratitude and positive self talk – I read somewhere that expressing gratitude on a daily basis can increase happiness and decrease stress. Along with positive thinking, I think this can be an easy addition to my daily routine.
- Breathing (more deeply) – this sounds weird but at times I get so stressed that I notice I “forget” to breathe. I’ve just started to notice that I do it when I’m driving, too. (I’ll be honest…I have bad road rage and the traffic in San Diego doesn’t help). So taking a few deep breaths when I’m feeling stressed out is something I will try to do more often.
- Homeopathic/herbal supplements – let’s face it, as a medical student there is no guarantee that I can consistently do all of the things I mentioned above. I went to the doctors and they suggested that I try Rescue Remedy for Acute Anxiety. Gaia also has an herbal supplement called Stress Response that I want to try – it contains adaptogenic herbs which help regulate cortisol levels.
THIS WEEKS’ HIGHLIGHTS:
- For Integrated Nervous System (INS) we exposed the spinal cord on the cadavers. I was given a turn to chisel/hammer at the lamina of the vertebrae…at first I was thinking, “ew I don’t want to touch this,” but once I started hammering away I thought it was pretty cool! We also learned a silly little mnemonic for the cranial nerves:
“Oh Oh Oh To Touch And Feel Very Green Vegetables AH.”
(I) Olfactory, (II) Optic, (III) Oculomotor, (IV) Trochlear, (V) Trigemal, (VI) Abducens, (VII) Facial, (VIII) Vestibulocochlear, (IX) Glossopharyngeal, (X) Vagus, (XI) Accessory, (XII) Hypoglossal.
- In Fundamentals of Counseling we separated into small groups (3 or 4 people) and did a mini mock counseling session. One person was the clinician, one person was the patient, and one person was the observer. I was so nervous! Even though I was in a group with friends I was still a little unsure of what to say or how to ask the questions, and at the same time I had to be aware of my body language, tone and rate of speech, gestures, and facial expressions. Of course after I went I received my feedback from the observer and professor but I didn’t do as bad as I thought I would…still room for improvement though!
- This week in Integrated Endocrine and Metabolism (IEM) we went over the thyroid (physiology) and transamination/deamination/amination (biochemistry).
- The thyroid gland is so tiny yet it effects so much within the body – growth and development, memory and learning capacity, heart rate, fat/carbohydrate metabolism, pregnancy maintenance, resting respiratory rate…just to name a few (I could go on and on…). For the most part, our body prefers BALANCE and will self-regulate itself if thyroid hormones are too high or too low. However, sometimes things can go wrong with either the hypothalamus, anterior pituitary gland, or thyroid gland. If there is not enough thyroid hormone being released, then this could result in hypothyroidism (e.g. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis); if too much thyroid hormone is being released then this could result in hyperthyroidism (e.g. Grave’s Disease).
- Ammonia is toxic to our bodies – that is why deamination is so important! This process safely removes ammonia from amino acids, which then enters the urea cycle where it is made into urea (a waste product).
- We were introduced to charting in Integrated Case Studies on Friday. I’m not gonna lie…it was a little confusing to me, but since we are going to chart the case studies every week I’m sure I will get the hang of it in no time. Plus, I won’t begin charting until my 3rd year I think when I begin to see patients under a supervisor…but I’m glad they are teaching us a little about it now.