Healthy Living in Veterinary School

Third year is just flying by! It seems like we are busier than ever—between classes, junior surgery, and clubs. However, as a student, it’s important to take time for yourself, and this includes taking care of your mind and body. It’s really easy to justify making a poor choice for dinner or skipping your workout for the third time this week when you tell yourself “I have a big test, I’ll do better next week.” The truth is there is always going to be another test, or quiz, or group project. School is important, and as veterinary students, we have worked very hard to get here and want to do our best. However, we cannot excel in school or life if our bodies are not fueled properly and if our minds are foggy.

While eating healthy, well-balanced meals daily is a great goal, we are sometimes so busy that we grab what we can on the go.  Instead, I try to eat “clean” as often as I can. This may mean packing healthy snacks, such as fruits, nuts, and cheeses, so that when I do get hungry I have something that will fuel my body better than a package of chips or cookies. I also aim to drink as much water as possible. Oftentimes, hunger pangs are really signs of our body asking for water. Many us go to caffeine to stay awake, but this actually depletes the water in our bodies and can cause headaches. I find that every now and then its OK to have a treat, IF I provide my body with healthy, nutritious foods the majority of the time.

Ideally, I strive to work out three to five times a week, and sometimes that happens. But on weeks when the school schedule is nuts, and I know I’m not going to get those work outs done, I try to incorporate shorter bursts of activity into my routine. Some examples include parking at the far end of the lot and walking in. I also like to take a brisk 10-minute walk on my break and/or lunch.

Lastly, with all of the pressures of school, tests, clubs, work, etc. it’s important that we are aware of our stressors and how our mind is reacting to them. By allowing myself a few minutes every day to meditate, I can achieve a sense of calm, peace, and balance that benefits emotional well-being and overall health.