Healthy Habits for Medical Students to Practice at Home

Physician burnout is a common theme you hear among medical students, interns, residents, and practicing physicians. As we all know, 2020 was a tough year for many. This is especially true for those in medical school and even more so for international students & grads who had an extra hurdle to overcome in their residency application process. With all that being said, we feel it is very important to take your mental health seriously and the article below has several easy tips you can follow to promote good health.

Health Habits

A nutritious diet and plenty of exercise can undoubtedly promote good health, but what about the daily habits you practice at home? From your everyday routine to getting the proper sleep, there are several things you can do to promote and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. It’s said that good habits begin at home, and this is absolutely true whether it relates to your career, your relationships, or your physical health. Read on to discover some things you can do to start practicing smarter, healthier habits while at home.

Why Healthy Habits are Important

Whether it’s stress from the workplace, current events, or family life, can be made worse if you don’t establish a healthy routine. Practicing good habits will make it easier to stay on track, even when things feel overwhelming. A clean, organized home can do wonders for your state of mind, and it can also help you feel good about coming home after a long day. Healthy eating, practicing self-love, and spending quality family time can help you stay grounded and remind you about what’s important in life. Once you develop new, positive habits, they’ll quickly become part of your daily rituals. Over time, these healthy habits will improve your mental and physical well-being and give you the tools you need to cope with stress in a more effective, thoughtful way.

Starting Your Day Right

To start your day on the right foot, you should try to stick to a morning schedule. Once you establish this morning routine, it will become second nature. Stay organized by creating a morning schedule you can follow every day. Draft a morning routine that best fits your specific needs, and consider these tips to help you get started:

Wake up early. When you get up early, you’ll get a jump start on your day. Waking up early also allows you to have a little extra “me time” before the rest of the family arises.

Make your bed. The simple act of making your bed can help you feel a sense of accomplishment. Making your bed sets the tone for the day and will give you the motivation to continue with other daily tasks.

Eat a healthy breakfast. A healthy life starts with a healthy breakfast. Skip the sugary cereals and eat a breakfast packed with proteins or fiber to help you feel full, give you energy, and keep your cholesterol levels low.

Get natural light. Natural light plays a significant role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm. If your bedroom doesn’t have windows, use a device that slowly increases the amount of light it emits to mimic the rising sun.

Morning exercise. Get active and get moving, and you’ll notice higher energy levels and a healthy body. Whether it’s yoga, a brisk walk, or jogging, just be sure you get your body moving before you start your day.

Take a shower. Don’t put off taking a shower, even if you work from home. A lovely shower will help you feel better, so make sure you take one, get dressed, and avoid staying in your PJ’s all day.

Start your daily activities. Procrastinating can only make things worse, so get started on your daily tasks as soon as possible. The sooner you finish, the sooner you’ll be able to relax.

Don’t work where you sleep. If you work from home, it’s never a good idea to work in the same place you sleep. You need to separate your workspace from the rest of your home to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Planning Your Next Day and a Bedtime Routine

Gearing up for the day ahead is just as important as your new morning habits. Here are some tips to establish a healthy, positive bedtime routine:

Plan your day in advance. Write a list of the things you need to do the following day to help you stay on track. This can help you avoid forgetting important tasks, and you’ll go to bed with a clear head.

Write down a to-do list. Make a simple to-do list of the things you need to get done before bedtime. It’s an easy way to ensure that you’re accomplishing everything that’s most important.

Enjoy some evening showering or pampering time. Relax before you head to bed with a nice bubble bath or a warm shower. Take some time to pamper yourself so you can decompress and feel a sense of calm and relaxation before bed.

No electronics 30 minutes before bed. Turn off your cell phone, laptop, or TV at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Too much stimulation can cause anxiety, or it may make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

Go to bed early. Try to get to bed as early as possible, so you get ample sleep. Practice nightly meditation to help you fall asleep and aim for at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night whenever you can.

Practice Healthy Nutrition Habits

Eating a healthy diet can do wonders for your body and mind. Follow these easy tips to help you stay on track and adopt healthy eating habits at home:

Start by cleaning and decluttering your fridge and pantry. Get rid of junk food and anything that’s expired. Your kitchen will be more organized, and you’ll have a clean slate to start from. Finish by filling your fridge, pantry, and cabinets with healthy foods that you enjoy.

Learn some new, healthy recipes and try making them at home. Cook your meals for the entire week on one day (Saturday or Sunday tends to be a good choice), and freeze everything so it’s easier to prepare lunch and dinner during the rest of the week.

Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. It’s important to stay hydrated to help you stay on task, avoid dehydration headaches, and to help you feel fuller, longer.

Practice conscious eating. This means creating meal plans in advance and focusing your diet on mostly veggies and fruits rather than processed meals and snacks.

Enjoy Some “Me” Time

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to dedicate some time each day that’s just for you. If you have a spare room, add some comfy furniture, and make it your special place to read some of your favorite books, enjoy a cup of hot tea, or just listen to your favorite music. These simple habits may seem small, but they can actually go a long way toward keeping you happy and healthy. Use this time to relax, unwind, and focus on yourself for at least a few minutes every day.

Learn Something New

Another great way to practice self-care is to try something different and new. Take up a new hobby like painting, arts and crafts, or enroll in a cooking or baking class. If you’re feeling up to it, plan a DIY project, or do some house remodeling. When you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll discover new things, meet new people, and maybe even find out some new skills you didn’t know you had.

If you enjoy arts or doing crafts, remodel one of the rooms in your home and make it a private studio. Take up activities like painting or embroidery so you can express your creative side. Ultimately, the goal is to discover something new and enjoyable that will make you happy and give you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. It’s essential to try and avoid social media and negative news to restore your sense of well-being, too. Once you find a new hobby, it will become your favorite thing to do, and staying away from negativity will be much easier.

Involve the Whole Family

Developing and adopting new healthy habits at home should include the entire family. Encourage your kids to eat healthier and to get exercise every day instead of just sitting in front of their smartphone or computer. Plan some family time at least once a week where you can play games together or watch a movie. This will help you establish a strong relationship with your family and keep the lines of communication open. Over time, the whole family will develop new habits that will promote the physical and mental well-being of everyone. It’s also a great way to help boost your children’s self-esteem.

Practicing a few simple healthy habits at home will improve your life by leaps and bounds. Start by organizing your home and create a daily morning and evening routine. Don’t forget to make time for yourself whether it’s through meditation or learning a new hobby. Encourage the whole family to learn some new healthy habits of your own, and you’ll discover just how much better life can be.

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