Archive for tag: health

A Time to Reassess

Hi Everyone! 

I hope each of you had a great holiday break and are recharged and ready to take on the New Year! Over the winter break I had time to think about a lot of things. 

Beginning with this blog for at least this trimester and perhaps into the next, along with my usual ramblings concerning campus life, classes and the experience at NUHS, I will be talking more about my personal journey of returning myself to a "basis for health." Returning a patient to a basis of health is the key concept of naturopathic medicine. Time for the med student to tread the path of self-healing in mind, body and spirit. 

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I thought about the past 3.5 years and the balancing act of classes, study, research, exercise, proper diet, down time, and my overall health. During this time I have physically deconditioned to the image you see here. I absolutely did not see myself in this condition! Well, it's time to reverse this 35-pound (that's right, 35 pounds in 3.5 years) trend and start living what I'm learning! I thought about the joy I gained from taking time each day to nourish my physical body. Through taking time to keep my physical-self strengthened and nourished with proper diet, exercise, movement and breath, I was able to make time to "center," meditate, or pray...I have always called it "sitting and thinking."

With all of this in mind, I considered the schedule this spring at school with 17 credit hours of classes on top of being an intern in clinic three days each week. I decided to take the step of delaying entering clinic for another trimester to become more centered and physically healthy. To do this I would need time to recondition my body with physical conditioning, time to prepare proper meals and time to center.  I personally cannot ask another human "be-ing" to work with me on returning to a basis for health when I have not taken that path in the proper manner. My journey begins with this "personal time for mind and body to enrich my spirit."

So, once I made the decision to center and recondition, I needed to set some goals. Once the goals were set, the next step was to put together an action plan. Good thing I have my old project manager skills to fall back upon in this case! My goals and plan are listed below. I may need to add goals or modify some of the plans as I near the goals and I will let you know as the plan evolves.

Physical Goals:

  • Reach a healthier Body Mass Index (25 - top limit of normal)
  • Run the 8 mile Spartan Race in Illinois in July 2013 (I ran the 3 miler in October 2011)

Plan:

  • Subsist on a whole foods diet (By making all foods I consume or purchasing food items consisting of five ingredients or less, chemical free and organic when possible)
  • Exercise at least 5 days per week with a muscle confusion and cardio mix
  • Drink water to tolerance each day or a minimum of 120 ounces
  • Ensure seven hours of good quality sleep each night
  • Attempt to attain all vitamins and minerals via my diet, only taking supplements or minerals as needed (let my food be my medicine when possible)

Mental and Spiritual Goal:

Become more centered and grounded to become the best medical student (and ultimately naturopathic doctor) that I can achieve. 

Plan:

  • Laugh!
  • Maintain a mindset of abundance rather than restriction during the transitional time
  • Ensure seven hours of quality sleep per night
  • Ensure one hour of "sitting and thinking" time each day
  • Ensure all classwork, assignments and studying is completed well ahead of due dates or exams
  • Ensure personal time with family, friends and loved ones is available
  • Allow some time each week for personal fun time!
  • Allow room for mistakes while committing to learning from them
  • Love in the best way that I can and be thankful for every person in my life who adds value (regardless of how that value is added)

Each of us has our own way of reaching our goals and learning along the way. I have pushed to complete medical school as quickly as possible, all the while knowing that I could have taken a lighter class load to give more time for personal maintenance and growth. I chose to take the fast path, which in retrospect, was a metaphor for the life I led prior to entering med school and which I voluntarily walked away from in order to be more healthy. Only I found over three years later, that I was falling back into the trap of "push, push, push" rather than "achieve and enjoy the journey a bit." I will miss graduating with my current cohort as we have been through many classes together, yet so many of us are mixed throughout our journey right now, I'm still rich with friends who will be Interns in clinic at the same time. One of the most beautiful things about NUHS is its people. You will hear me say that again. :)

My path is not the path for everyone. Some folks are eager to start and finish the journey here at NUHS in 10 trimesters (I call it the insanity track, hehe) while others are forced to slow due to having to repeat a course (my journey early on), only to speed back up for the clinical courses. I have chosen to voluntarily slow down to have a richer clinic experience by finishing most of my classes prior to entering clinic. This will allow me to heal myself, and then when I am ready, have the best academic foundation and self to help others with their healing process or point them in the proper direction to be the healthiest person they can be. If you choose NUHS, your path will be as unique as you are. You can determine your course load and timing for your journey as a medical student on our campus and plan for your best maintenance plan for your mind, body and spirit while becoming a healer.

Stay tuned for the journey!

What a Schedule

Well, I'm sitting here in the middle of Week 3 of 7th Trimester wondering where the first two weeks went! This trimester, I believe is solely to test whether we can arrive at class on time, with homework completed and dressed appropriately, whether for simulated patients, clinic observation or simply remembering to clothe ourselves before leaving the house for school! :) 

The intensity of the information being delivered, the tasks being performed in class, lab and clinic along with the homework cycle is a strong rival to the "Terrible Triad" of classes from Trimester Two! The Terrible Triad is otherwise known as Head and Neck Gross Anatomy Lab, Neurophysiology and Neuroanatomy. These classes more than any other, have convinced many students here at NUHS (including yours truly) that the insanity track, or the track that will complete the program in only 10 trimesters, is sometimes a bit much if other factors are involved in one's life such as a longer commute, family or even a part-time job. 

One's preferred schedule here at NUHS can be as individually tailored as the person taking the classes. As with any endeavor in life, the choices boil down to the factors of time and money. How much time can you devote to your classes, both individually and throughout the program as a whole? Also, how much money do you have to be either employed part-time while attending classes on a lighter schedule (though still difficult, just fewer classes per trimester) or "self employed" as a Naturopathic Medical Student. 

Speaking of time and money, an old dear friend (back in my Joe Six Pack days) used to lecture me on spending money on being healthy now by exercising and eating properly or spending money later on maintaining health with prescriptions, surgeries, etc. Let's just say I was driving hell-bent on the road to either a stroke or a heart attack in my mid 30's.  

I did a pretty good job of getting healthier through learning, utilizing and pursuing a career in Naturopathic Medicine. Once I entered med school, however, my schedule became super full. I was poor at managing personal and school time separately, and health slowly began to waver, then wane--not terribly, but enough to cause concern to me through a tightening waist on my pants and a truly striking lack of energy on a daily basis.

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(L-R) Steve Occhetti, David Popovic and the Panther Fan

Enter Trimester 7, a renewed focus on balance between school, health and Vitamin R (one of the Determinants of Health...rest, relaxation, rejuvenation). Combine the new focus with Steve Occhetti and Dave Popovic, who are true motivators! These guys, nearly 20 years my junior, and both of whom are excellent athletes, invited the "wily veteran" to join them with their workouts. Now then, any person who is halfway motivated to improve their health, increase energy and enjoy some laughs and groans at the jokes shared could not pass up this opportunity! 

So, you guessed it, I made time in my schedule despite this load of classes, patient simulations, clinic observation and homework (and exams...yarrrr) to ensure that I give my physiological person the same opportunity to grow that I have given my intellectual person (I use that term loosely) while here at med school. Only one facet left--my spiritual person through personal reflection, centering and calming. I'm still working on that one a bit, yet I guess we all are to one degree or another. 

I'll be sure to keep all of you updated on the happenings of the Naturopathic Student Gathering as well as my efforts at improvement in my personal triad (intellectual, physical and spiritual...or mind, body, spirit) as well! 

Now, time for some homework, then the Tri Mixer this coming Friday where we "seasoned" students welcome our new colleagues to NUHS over food, drinks and great stories! I'm grateful that our student population is open and welcoming to our new students each trimester despite their hectic schedules. I feel that is but one of the facets that make our student population incredible! 

See you next week!