Throughout the country, third year medical students gear up to start their fourth and final of year of medical school. As they prepare for the end of this worthwhile journey, they also start planning the next chapter of their careers: residency. This process will be busy, tiresome, and even lonely at times. However, I am not going to inform you about simplifying this process (you should submit questions to our Resident On Call Forum and look our for answers early each month on the AMWA Blog). I want to focus on personal wellness because it is an aspect of life that is often lost during this transition.
Personal wellness encompasses social, spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, and professional well-being. In fact, wellness includes any action that helps a person improve the mind, body, soul, and/or spirit. So I urge you, even if you are not about to embark on your fourth year of medical school, to take a few minutes and think about your state of well-being. Determine what you need to do for yourself to be the version of you that you aspire to be. And set goals to achieve that version! This might be carving out a little time to make it to the gym, learning to meditate, spending more time with a family member or friends, getting around to that book on your nightstand, or even just sitting outside for a few minutes after dinner to enjoy the fresh air. Whatever it is – do it.
I entered college in a 7-year, BS/MD program. It’s safe to say my high school teachers knew I was motivated to make my dreams come true. Thus, the best piece of advice I received had nothing to do with studying hard or doing good in the world; it was about taking care of myself. One teacher told me to find something I enjoyed unrelated to my profession – something that gave me peace. I’ll never forget her advice because I’m sure that following those instructions helped keep me sane these past seven years. At times, I would lose my way, but I always found a way back. I make it a point to re-evaluate my own well-being periodically, process changes, and ensure I’m on track.
We owe it to ourselves to take care of ourselves and most importantly, to be happy. It is especially easy to forget this in the midst of the many changes a career in medicine can deliver. So after you finish reading this make sure you address your personal wellness.