I can say it is almost impossible not to feel stress in vet school…especially at the end of the academic semester when stress levels increased. But, also as I get further in my veterinary career and I approach my last years of schooling, I realized stress levels go up more easily. So, I am trying to learn more from stress and how to reduce it in some way. We all know stress is not healthy and it can affect our body and lifestyle. Some major effects that studies have shown are a suppressed immune system, a decrease in the communication between neurons, an increase in anxiety, and more. Dealing with stress is challenging, but it is possible to reduce stress levels a bit. Here are a few tips to deal with stress in vet school:
- Listen to music. Many people say that music is powerful and it would reduce stress levels by making our body release serotonin and dopamine. Both chemicals help us feel good, so I suggest taking study breaks (5 to 10 minutes) to listen to your favorite playlist. If you don’t have a playlist…make one right away, choose songs that make you feel happy and motivated. Have you ever seen Cristina Yang and Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy dancing it out? These TV Doctors used to dance to relieve stress. So, you can use your study breaks to play your favorite song, to sing it out loud and dance it out. If you are feeling motivated, look up an easy choreography tutorial and to try! I have noticed that listening to music or dancing boosts my energy and makes me forget about my stressful days.
- Laugh. Laughing is a universal language and it is healthy. According to the book The Brain Health Guide, laughing increasing levels of oxygen in our body, lower blood pressure, and can reduce heart disease. So, it’s recommended to laugh more daily. Check out a new comedy series that lasts 30 minutes or less. I love watching comedy during dinner and the good thing is that this kind of TV show genre doesn’t force you to continue watching the next episodes. There are plenty of comedy shows on Hulu and Netflix (I recommend One Day at a Time, Full house, Superstore, Blackish, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to name a few).
- Try expressive writing. Another activity that helps reduce stress. Get a small notebook or journal and write about your day. Try to write down all your worries, negative thoughts, and also include your positive experiences. It should take 10 minutes or less a day. I have done this a few times and this a great exercise to relieve stress. The important thing is to do things that make us feel a little relaxed and happier without spending too much time away from studying. All we need as vet students and future doctors is to reduce stress in our lives.