I read an interesting article today that focused on stress and how it is related to premature death. It emphasized that it is not just large life events that cause damaging stress, but also how we react to everyday stuff like bad traffic. It got me to thinking about veterinary school and how much stress my classmates and I are under on a daily basis. To top it off, many of us are type A personalities, and that just increases our reactions to many stressful events like an upcoming exam, practical, etc.
So how do we eliminate that stress? We don’t. This is vet school, it is stressful. However, there are things I do that help me to lessen that stress and the toll it takes on my body.
1) Exercise everyday. Whether it’s a walk or roller blading or swimming laps, I try to get something in every day for at least 30 minutes.
2) Plan meals in advance. I feel better when I eat healthy, but when I wake up at 5:30 am I’m not looking to chop up fruits and veggies or make a salad. With that in mind, I buy all my healthy groceries at the beginning of the week and always prepare meals and snacks in the evening so I’m ready to go the next morning.
3) Get plenty of sleep. Sleep definitely helps. I won’t lie though, I never get enough during the week. I try to take short naps when I can, but for now it is what it is. But if you can get more sleep, definitely go for it.
4) Try some basic meditation and deep breathing exercises. I don’t mean an hour a day. Sometimes as little as five minutes helps me to calm down and relax.
You can’t avoid the stress in vet school, but hopefully you can work to manage it so that it doesn’t take too great a toll on your physical and mental well-being.