Make time to take time...for yourself, that is. As we students
return to the NUHS classes this week, after a well-needed winter
break, many of us find that we aren't quite as well rested as we
thought we'd be. Personally, I envisioned a two and a half week
stint of total relaxation...or, at least, as relaxing as life can
be with two young children! Instead, what I got was the usual
hectic schedule of drop-offs and pick-ups, with my own work crammed
in between appointments and holiday travels.
The welcoming sight of a snow-covered Lombard campus as we
returned for the "spring" trimester.
Yes, that's right. I came back to campus in January just as
stressed out as when I walked off after my last final exam back in
December. How did this happen? After talking with some classmates
this week, I quickly realized that I was not alone. Sure, a few
people took it easy and maintained the "AOM" lifestyle of healthy
eating and weekly acupuncture treatments. Lucky them. The rest of
us overindulged with the holiday treats and put the exercise
routines on hold while we visited relatives and friends.
What's wrong with us? Don't we, students of acupuncture and
oriental medicine, know better? Don't we know that a relaxing and
rejuvenating acupuncture session is even more important when we are
stressed out by final exams and holiday travels? It turns out,
we're just like everyone else. We don't always practice what we
preach. And, the prognosis isn't great for our future actions,
either. An article in Newsweek revealed that 44% of
male doctors are overweight or obese (Kalb, 2008). Sure, this is
better than the average American statistic, which puts around 65%
of Americans as either overweight or obese, but it's not role-model
material! (Kalb, C. (2008). Drop That Corn Dog, Doctor.
Newsweek, 152(15), 17.)
If we don't take the time to make time for ourselves--for our
health and well-being--now, as students, then how can we become a
strong force for good in our future patients' lives? I want to
model the behavior and lifestyle that I am explaining to my
patients. If I can't prioritize and sacrifice to make time for my
own acupuncture sessions and yoga classes, then why should a
patient take my advice to do so? If they see me wolfing down my
fast food in between appointments, then why should they look to
more healthy options for their own lunch?
My personal path this year will be to slow down, to be more
aware of my choices and my priorities, and to model the lifestyle
and mindset that I want to introduce to others. Welcome, 2014.