So, I doubt any of you have noticed, but it’s been a while since the last time I blogged. A whole month actually, I also doubt many of you have missed it, but I kind of have. Like I said in my last post, I’m not sure how things have gotten so busy lately. This year of medical school has proved to be much different from last year. Instead of having tests almost every week we have a block of tests every 5-6 weeks. I think I like it better, but it definitely requires a different method of studying and time management. Time management is something that I’ve never had problems with, and I’m not sure that’s exactly what it requires; it’s really more like a marathon of studying and testing that you are continually training for. We have class pretty much all day everyday and 6 weeks of material is a lot to learn, especially when each class meets multiple times a day instead of three times a week like they did in college. I don’t mind the studying though, I’m really enjoying the material in all of my classes and it seems that I’m starting to get closer and closer to seeing patients instead of learning about them in a classroom. School isn’t the only thing I’ve been up to lately. I think since the last time I blogged, I’ve been to Gulf Shores for a family trip, home for my birthday and I just returned from the Interim AMA Student Conference in Hawaii. Aside from those, I’ve been doing my usual stuff with the Free Clinic and Family Medicine Interest Group.
As you might have noticed I didn’t include exercise or cooking in the busy line up of activities that I’ve been occupied with lately. I ran in Gulf Shores to make up for the vacation eating that I was guilty of and managed to fit some running in the week before my test block. I’ve wanted to run, but now it’s getting too cold outside and I’ve honestly felt like I haven’t had time. The same goes for my cooking. I’ve been making things here and there, but different dinner meetings, activities, and trips have thrown a wrench into my normal routine. I’ve also been making more repeat recipes than new ones, which doesn’t leave me with much to tell you about. I’m beginning to sympathize a little more with the people and patients I’ve seen that say they are too busy to cook and exercise. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s still just an excuse. While there are definitely days that are too busy and too tiring to make an effort at exercise and cooking, every day isn’t like that. And, if you make a plan for yourself you can avoid those days when possible, and really enjoy them as a break when they are inevitable.
I probably sound like a crazy person saying this (believe me, I feel like one too), but I haven’t felt balanced since I put cooking and exercising on the back burner. While my eating habits have not been absolutely terrible and I have managed to fit in some exercise, it hasn’t been my normal and I can tell. I feel so much better when I take the time to make a nice healthy dinner and when I at least make some effort at physical activity. Not only do I physically feel better, but mentally I think it makes a difference, too. Cooking and exercise are like my own personal breaks in the day where I don’t think about anything else; it’s all about the activity that I’m doing then and there. I think blogging has started to become a similar activity. I enjoy sitting down to reflect and share my struggles and accomplishments in hopes that they will not only help me, but that they can have a positive impact on my friends, family, future patients, or strangers that I may never meet. While the other activities that I’m involved with give me breaks and keep me sane, they serve a different purpose than my exercise and cooking (and blogging). School and it’s related activities keep me busy in a productive manner, while my cooking, blogging, and exercising are more like meditation. I’ve come to realize that they are all important to keeping me in check and hopefully I’ll be able to do a better job with keeping them balanced with each other in the near future.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with my once a week blogging trend with everything that’s going on. Next semester will be especially difficult since I’ll be preparing for one of the biggest tests of my career, the Step I exam (if you don’t know what that is, you don’t want to) while still being in regular classes. So, I’ll just have to play it by ear and keep up with my recipes and exercise as best I can. I’ve already got a list of recipes ready to hold me until Thanksgiving; hopefully over Thanksgiving I can work on planning some more recipes to try. Planning is definitely the key to this whole healthy lifestyle thing. If you don’t have a plan set for exercise and cooking, it makes you weak and allows you to come up with excuses for why you think you should be allowed to go out for dinner or why you just don’t have time to exercise. You end up thinking those excuses are valid, but most of the time they aren’t and you should just stand up to yourself and say that you’re not falling for it. I have this argument with myself all the time, especially over the past few weeks. I’m constantly asking myself, “Do I really have time? Am I really that tired? Should I exercise even though I feel like I should study instead?” Sometimes it’s a tough decision for me to make when I feel like I should be studying instead, but I feel like I’ve started to realize that I just need to find a way to do both and I’ll feel that much better and probably be able to focus better when I study.
All in all, I’ve really come to understand what things make me feel good and bad, whether it’s exercising or eating healthy, I know I should make every effort to do it as often as I can. Even though it’s hard to convince myself sometimes, going without those things for a couple weeks not only makes me feel guilty, but adds to the stress that I’m already under. Going without those things also makes me physically and mentally more exhausted and unhappy. I was going to try and go running today because the weather warmed up a little, but instead I’m going to give Pure Barre a try and see how that goes. I’ll also be making a grilled chicken salad for dinner and hopefully I’ll be able to let you know how they both turn out sometime soon. If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ve gotten some inspiration or encouragement to keep up your healthy lifestyle or start fresh. It’s definitely a struggle sometimes, but one I find to be well worth the effort. I’ll have some recipes for you next time, don’t worry!