Studying medicine is everything but easy but as long as you are studying something you love it’s all worth it. You put in a lot of effort, time and energy but it is important that you still have something that takes your mind away from studying for a while so you are not under constant stress all the time.
I will tell you what I do in my free time and maybe provide some ideas for you to find something you love to do besides medicine.
How I spend my free time:
• Watching series
• Playing guitar
• Horseback riding
I used to hate running, but when I had to study for my final exams that determined whether I’d be accepted to medical school I was under a lot of pressure, stressed out all the time, so decided to give running a chance. I started running for like once a week and noticed a big difference in my mood. Now I try to go for a run 3 or 4 times a week. This was harder to achieve before the quarantine because I got home from school late in the afternoon, sometimes at 7 or 8 p.m. and with all the studying to do I didn’t have enough time. Now that we have to stay home, I make sure I go for a rum at least 3 times a week or workout at home if it’s raining outside. Since I’ve started running, I cope with stress easily, it gives me more energy and motivation to be productive. On days when I don’t feel like doing anything and I don’t have any motivation, like we all probably do sometimes, I push myself to go for a run and I swear it helps. I return pleasantly tired, but very motivated to do something productive, to study and I think I also study easier after.
Some people also experienced a so called phenomenon called the “runner’s high”. It has been described subjectively as pure happiness, elation, a feeling of unity with one’s self and/or nature, endless peacefulness, inner harmony, boundless energy, and a reduction in pain sensation. The runner’s high however, is a private experience, and the evidence for its existence rests on verbal report. To explore the phenomenon scientifically is very restricted because the runner’s high is not experienced by all runners, and this experience does not occur consistently in runners who have experienced it previously. This left scientists wondering why and under which conditions the runner’s high occurs, or whether or not it exists at all. I think that I have never experienced a proper “runner’s high”, but definitely some sensations of happiness lightness and calmness.
Although not everyone experiences the “runner’s high”, almost everyone feels some level of satisfaction after a run or some other endurance activity such as cycling. The reason behind this is, that endurance exercises such as running activate the Endocannabinoid system. Activation of the endocannabinoid system reduces pain sensations and alters emotional and cognitive processes, thus it may cause some of the psychological effects that accompany exercise. I find this topic very interesting, so if you’re interested, you want to read more about Endocannabinoid system here.
Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing anything, or I’m just taking a break from studying I go watch some series. I don’t explicitly watch medical series only, but they are my favourite obviously. I have to admit that I have not yet seen Grey’s anatomy but I plan to. Right now, I’m waiting for a new episode of The Resident. I also watch House, but now that I’m in medical school and get to see how things actually work in a hospital, I don’t like it as much as I used to. One of my favourite TV shows are Friends and I’ve seen every episode multiple times, I also like How I met your mother, but I think Friends were better. If you know any good series please leave a comment below.
I never took guitar lessons, which I sometimes regret, but I’ve learned a lot of chords and strumming patterns by watching you tube videos. I know enough chords to play my favourite songs and as of right now I’m satisfied with that, but I plan to learn more when I will have more time. I don’t own a guitar tuner, I’m planning on buying it after the quarantine, instead I use an app called GuitarTuna and I think it does a pretty good job. So, if you’re also looking for an alternative, I think this is a pretty good one, and you can also tune an ukulele, which I also own, and other types of guitars.
This is something I’ve only recently become more interested in but I enjoy it so much. I try something new each time and my goal is to make a cake sometime soon. I got my new spatula last week and I love it so much. I try to find healthy and delicious recipes and almost everything turned out quite tasty by now. I plan on gathering my recipes and share it with you soon. If you like sweet but healthy snacks I recommend you give baking a try.
Horses are a big love of mine since I can remember. I never owned my own horse sadly, but I always wanted to. Since I started med school I haven’t been riding much because there was no time. Now that we have to stay home, I have more time so I started riding more frequently again. I don’t train in the arena and jump over hurdles because I don’t think that this is very healthy for a horse in long-term. I usually go in the forest or on some meadow and just enjoy the nature. If you haven’t tried it yet I really recommend you to give it a try, it’s very calming and relaxing. Make sure you always wear a helmet though. I once feel off a horse directly on my head and got away with a mild concussion and minor knee injury. I was very lucky she didn’t step on me otherwise I could be seriously hurt. This accident however, didn’t stop me from loving horses and riding.
This is something that I’ve started just recently. I got inspired while I was studying that I could share my medical school experience, how I study, maybe give some tips on studying and coping with everything which was very hard for me at first. While writing I’ve come to the conclusion that this is something that I really like to do and I wish I would have started sooner.
I also like to go on long walks, draw, read books, paint, clean etc., but the ones above I do most often. I always make sure to get enough fresh air and to drink enough water.
You should still keep your education as your priority, but just remember to take some time to yourself to gain some energy and motivation. It will make studying a lot easier and your overall mood will definitely improve.