What's the Big Deal with Sleep

Sleep is not as overrated as it seems! In college, I remember attempting to pull "all-nighters" consecutive days in a row just to get as much information packed into my brain as possible before big midterm or final exams. While my college roommates were able to do it with tons and tons of coffee, I admit that never worked for me because my body loves sleep too much. 

Entering NUHS for grad school, that trend just seemed to continue within the student population. It almost seemed like it was worse with the course load so high and the constant pressure there. I just couldn't do it myself. Don't get me wrong; I really wanted to on many days I was "cramming." However, coffee and energy drinks don't affect me like they do the general public, so sleep and I have become very good friends! :)

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I've noticed, though, that among my friends who would deprive themselves of sleep, their grades weren't much different than people around them who would sleep at least 4-5 hours (not the full recommended 8 hours). So I started to see that it really wasn't worth it. My envy began to fade very quickly for people who could utilize all the time a day gives us!

There are many studies out there linking inefficiency with lack of sleep. We learn in school (and it's common knowledge), that sleep is what our bodies need to restore and rest. Not only does lack of sleep include a high rate of inefficiency on the job but it also increases your chances of getting sick since your body hasn't had time to relax.

This week, I've been exhausted. Ryan was sick and then I got sick, so in order to heal, I stopped fighting my body and slept--a lot! I had busy days filled with full patient loads and studying for board exams coming up in one week, but I had to let my body recover so I slept a lot! And it was more than worth it.

So what's the point?

Don't come into this program thinking you'll get to sleep 8-12 hours a night. BUT also, don't come into this program thinking that it's OK to not sleep at all! Time management is key to get through any of the programs here especially if you decide to dual enroll; this also includes managing healthy times for you to relax, restore and sleep. It's one of the most important things you need to fit into your schedule! :)

Family Fun

January has been filled with surprises thus far! It is going to be an interesting year! I couldn't get through it without the help of my family. I know I talk about them a lot, but getting two doctorates is not an easy task. Having the love and support of my family makes it all better.

I can't believe that we will be counting down the days I have left at NUHS together. It's been a long time and let me tell you, I AM READY! :) I don't know if I am 100% ready to tackle the world full force yet, but I am ready to finally get out of this "student" status and try. I always feel so jealous when my husband gets to come home and talk about his workday while I have numbers to accomplish, boards to pass, and sanity to keep. It has definitely been an interesting ride--this school thing. I can't say that I've always tried my best or given my all, but I think I did what I could with what I had.

The best part of school is learning little things here and there that you can share with your family--not just the nutrition stuff or supplements, but learning about therapies that are available to the public! Before NUHS, I'd never heard of ear candling before. It's an old method to utilize a "candle" to act like a vacuum to remove any excess cerumen (wax) in your ear. It's painless and actually quite relaxing.

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My brother using an ear candle with his wife.

Well, my family came over this weekend to share a meal with us and just hang out. We decided to bust open our ear candles to try! It was hilarious just watching everyone in my family try this one by one and fall asleep while holding the candle in their ear! We all had to be the "watch dogs" so that they wouldn't accidently let go! (ha ha) It was fun to share a little bit of what I get in school with them and they loved it!

My family always hears me complain and complain about how tired I am all the time or how overwhelmed I am, so finally they get a glimpse into the fun stuff we get to learn about! To clarify, we don't do ear candling in the clinic, but we learn about it briefly!

I'm off to clinic now and counting down the days--a little less than 90 days until you can call me a naturopathic physician!

Rejuvenation

2012-01-17_xmascardWell, guys, it's been fun but this will be my LAST trimester writing to you about my experiences. I can't believe how much time has flown by. Sometimes I felt it didn't go fast enough but now I realize as I am reaching the end, that it truly flies! I hope you all had a happy holiday season with your loved ones wherever you are in the world! :) 

Everyone else got a three-week break from school, however being in 9th trimester during the winter left us with a shorter break but still good enough! I spent a lot of time watching movies, playing board games, playing and singing music, and most importantly spending time with my loved ones. We got to spend a long weekend in Michigan with my in-laws and it was amazing. Being in the outdoors, breathing in fresh country air, and waking up to a giant Christmas tree lifted our spirits enough to come back and tackle reality.

When I left you last, I was going into what we call "finals" week. It was the last finals week I will EVER have to experience and that idea alone is an accomplishment considering this is my 14th trimester at NUHS. I am all "finaled" out! :) The hardest part of our finals week was not the exams since I actually only had ONE, but was saying goodbye to some amazing friends and colleagues.

Julie Martin

Dr. Julie Martin (our other ND clinician) has left to pursue her passion of practicing and chasing that dream! She has truly been the positive light in clinic for all of us with her warm smiles, big hugs and listening ear. Tears were definitely shed when she said her final goodbyes on graduation day. It was bittersweet for all of us because we were so happy for her new journey in life but so sad that she was no longer going to be with us every day in clinic.

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Dr. Julie Martin and I at commencement.

Goodbye Party

The same day (graduation), we all had to say goodbye to our friends/colleagues that we've grown so close to. We've all grown so close together in different ways, built lifelong relationships and enjoyed never-ending support for all thehard times. I definitely learned something from each and every one of them and saying goodbye was also very bittersweet.

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A final goodbye party minus a couple of the 10th trimester interns.

Although I am very anxious for April 19 (my graduation date) to come, the part that makes me most sad is saying goodbye to all my colleagues that have turned into amazing friends. The thought of us all going to different parts of the world and pursuing our dreams is amazing but also again, bittersweet.

One of my struggles throughout 8th and 9th tri was forgetting to rejoice in all the awesomeness of life that is within arms reach instead of focusing on all the negativity that I encountered.

So as a part of my new year's resolution I started a blog challenge: 1 blog a day for 2012. My website is: papermachedoll.blogspot.com, which just goes through stories to uplift myself (and you)--and healthy recipes too!

Well, now back to reality. The trimester is going to end with a big bang and I'm excited to share it with all of you!

Oh, Christmas Tree

It's December! Although there is no snow yet on the ground, it is officially December!

As all of you may know or can read from my blogs, I am a busy girl! Along with keeping myself busy with school, board exams, clinic, etc., I also jam pack my weekends with seeing family and friends, which always makes me so happy. However, our first weekend to just spend time together, run errands together, buy a Christmas tree, watch movies, and make dinner together is priceless. And that's exactly what we had the opportunity to do this weekend.

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I had an amazing weekend and now have a REAL Christmas tree in our house! I wish we had time to decorate it in time for me to show you a picture. Our theme for our gifts and tree this year is "Recycle," so I made some papier-mâchéornaments with newspaper and wrapped all of our gifts with brown paper bags and newspapers that I collected from my colleagues. I love the holidays!

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Some of the gifts that I wrapped with recycled paper and a hint of lace. :)

Tinctures

This week, I had a patient that needed a tincture! What is a tincture you might ask? An example of a tincture is an alcohol- based (usually ethanol) solution with different botanicals (herbs) in it. The alcohol base acts as a solvent to extract out the constituents of the botanicals, which can be used instead of a capsule (pill). Since it's alcohol based, it cannot be used with patients who may have a history of alcohol/drug abuse, a type of liver disease (very severe) and children.

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However, there are other forms of tinctures that may include vinegar bases or glycerin. Although they are not known to be very good solvents, they are still great options. The other great thing about tinctures is that you can CUSTOMIZE it for your patient for their own needs. If they have 2 or more chief complaints, you don't have to give tons and tons of supplements. Instead you can combine 2 or more herbs that may act on different parts of the body, and can cover complaints that range from musculoskeletal to reproductive all in one bottle. It's amazing, and since it's in liquid form, it has been seen to work in acute cases faster than the body breaking down and absorbing different capsules/tablets/pills.

However, there are limitations as well to using tinctures. COMPLIANCE! Since the tinctures don't taste very good, some patients may not always be compliant and use them as directed (example of a dose: 1 tsp. for up to four times a day!). The strong taste and bitter properties of certain botanicals has some people wanting to throw up. So, in theory they are great, but the patient needs to be made aware of the taste/compliance issue before purchasing it. Tinctures at our clinic for 100mL are $20, which can be expensive over time since 100 mL can last anywhere from 7 to 10 days if you are dosing up to 4xs/day.

Well, I hope you have learned something new today about tinctures! They are great and I love them, but like everything else, there are limitations! I've seen great results with my patients and myself, too, if the compliance is there. Have a great week everyone and enjoy time with your loved ones during this holiday season!!

Blissor: My weekend off to relax, start wrapping gifts, buy our first Christmas tree, and overall spend time with my husband! It's the little things in life! :)

Give Thanks

Hello everyone! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving weekend to share with your loved ones.

This week I only had clinic for two days due to the holidays and I got to fit in a couple patients, but I was so excited to get out of Illinois and see our extended family in Minnesota. We drove the whole 7 hours (super long) but it was more than worth it. There was an endless amount of amazing food, laughs and love. And yes, I did visit the "Mall of America" on Black Friday! :) 

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I've dedicated this blog to all the things I am thankful for--like my little "niece" Rhyin, (pictured above), my little person full of JOY this weekend! We shouldn't only use one weekend of the year to reflect back on the things that are awesome in our lives, but it's definitely a nice reminder to give thanks!

My thanksgiving list:

1. My mother:

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She exemplifies beauty and strength to me. I am definitely my mother's daughter. I love her so much and I am so thankful for all the sacrifices she has made for our family!

2.  My husband:

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Ryan is an amazing man and I am so lucky to have him. Through all my complaining "girl" moments and everything else, he loves me more and more every day. He is going to be such an amazing dad one day and I can't wait to share more life adventures with him.

3. My brothers (and sister-in-law):

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Having three older brothers with a strong mother has definitely made me who I am. They are always supportive of me! Plus my oldest brother and sister-in-law gave me my amazingly awesome nephew, Xander, who makes my life so much more than I could imagine.

4.  My two best friends, Maria and Rosie:

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We've been friends for over 10 years and they definitely complete me. They were both my maids-of-honor in my wedding and will always be in my life forever! They are amazing!

5. My family and friends:

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From my strong-willed grandparents to my hilarious and fashionable cousins to all my colleagues at NUHS. I am a lucky girl to have all these amazing people in my life who make me strive to be the better version of myself and show me that life is about LOVE and LAUGHTER--with a couple bumps in the road. :)

I could probably go on and on and on with what I am thankful for including the food I get to eat every day, the house I come home to, and the education that I have. What is on your THANKFUL list?