Nursing Student Life

They say everything is about balance, and that couldn’t be truer. But there are some challenges we face that really through us for a curve ball on the balanced path.

I’m about to finish up my first year of becoming an RPN (registered practical nurse), also known as a licensed practical nurse in a lot of places. I am obsessed with this profession, I love my future career – but it is definitely a lot of work.

I know I’ve posted before about my hourly commitment for school being equal to that of a full time job, but I struggle with turning off the “work” part of me and enjoying everyday life. For me I prep for school/placement, do homework for school/placement, and actually attend classes/placement. It feels like there is no off switch, but I am trying.

My weekends usually are swamped with school work too, so it makes it a little harder. But I prioritize. For me school and my mental health are tied at first. Then family + boyfriend for second. Then everything else. I tend to be more anti-social during the school time, just because I love my friends but I have so little time in a day to balance. And with my mental health being first that means incorporating down time where I don’t have to think at all. Family is next because they fill up my good vibes and I always feel better after being with my family and my boyfriend. They don’t expect me to be anything but myself – good and bad moments.

What I’m trying to work on (as I obsessively watch other nursing students / healthcare workers youtube videos) is finding an exercise routine. Not only is it good for me physical but mentally as well. It calms, and releases those “feel good” endorphins. It is also good for coping with high stress. So I keep looking for something I like, and am actively working towards that.

Any workout ideas that work for you – please let me know!

 

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Treading Water and Health

So I have been in the full throttle of being a student and an adult. Although I’m very lucky because I still live at home and am being supported through my education – so I am a full time student and not working – let me repeat, I am very lucky.

I am a nursing student, and it takes a lot of time, energy and effort. I have been treading water with my health (physical and mental) and the point is just not to drown. I know this sounds a little dramatic but those who deal with or care for someone with mental health issues will understand. My bipolar does not define me, but it is a part of me. And it is something that is triggered easily by stress and bad health habits (like stressing over studying and not sleeping, or copious amounts of caffeine, etc). So I’m treading water until summer comes again and I can fully focus on my health.

I also deal with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Long story short, my hormones tend to mess with me and that doesn’t help the already fluctuating moods and my proneness to weight gain (+medication weight gain) and struggle to take it back off. I was diagnosed when I was 14 years old and am now 23, and have never really focused on it or dealt with it. So I am doing my research into things to help me.

I used to manage it well before being engulfed by post-secondary education, but I am determined to get back there.

I’ve also started to take a heap load of vitamins to help with overall health and problem specific issues.

So here are some things I’m doing [I am not a doctor and cannot give advice in such – this is just what I’m doing for me]: 

Vitamins –

  • vitamin D
    • there are some studies that show it can help with depression and mood fluctuations, especially with the seasons changing
  • multivitamin for women
    • general overall health
  • probiotic
    • this helps with stomach/intestine bacteria, it helps the body process foods and eliminates bloating pain, discomfort, can help with heartburn (I have GERD) and just overall improves the gut
  • magnesium
    • helps with such a variety of things but I’m taking it for migraines, mood swings, and pms symptoms,
  • evening primrose oil
    • this is to help with the PCOS, I’m still new to it but I’ve heard it can help with hormone fluctuations and therefore possibly east cystic pain
  • folic acid
    • this is for the mental health, its been shown in bipolar to help with both down swings and up swings
  • omega-3
    • this is also for the mental health and overall brain health, helping with moods

I also started drinking lemon water with apple cider vinegar in the mornings with my breakfast and coffee, its supposed to help with weight loss, digestion, lowers blood sugar levels, and helps heart health.

Other than that I am trying to eliminate processed food (so things like white bread), which I know I won’t completely rid of, but I am trying to cut down.

The next step is introducing exercise again, but thats a work in progress.

Until next time!

 

Well School Is Something

Hello again!

I have been gone for so long because my school semester started up in early September. And oh boy has it been a whirlwind. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely loving it (except pathology) but every accomplishment and learning moment is a moment I’m closer to becoming a nurse. Something I no longer have any doubt – that I’m meant to do.

I have 5 classes, and 1 placement. In total I have school about 30 hours for the week not including breaks, and about an additional 10 hours for homework, assignments, research, etc. So it’s a full time job at 40 hours a week. Most students in general will say higher education is a commitment, but my fellow nursing students will tell you by the end of the day (if possible) naps are your very good friend.

So what’s my point, other than life’s busy? Self-care, self-love, self-compassion.

My self-care, with a lot of effort, has stayed fairly solid. I sleep when I can in the day, and I go to bed no later than 9pm because I’m up early everyday. I practise meditation, but I’ve adapted to a more concise version – I find often I don’t have 10/15 minutes to just sit (even though I should make the time). I will count my breathes on a 1, 2 cycle – 1 inhale, 2 exhale. I will practise alternating nostril breathing before bed (block right nostril, breathe in; open right nostril, block left nostril, breathe out) – this usually puts me right out. I have also been practising gratitude. Where I’m in placement there are a lot of clients who need a lot of personal care, and some who have no support outside of themselves. It fills my heart to help them, and reminds me how wonderful it is that I do have that external support systems. And what’s more gratifying then getting to do something you love everyday? Every weekend I prep for the week: set alarms, reminders, plan out homework sessions, and review class content.

With very mental health specific self-care parts, I set reminders to shower, and shave on Sunday. I then ask my family to remind me if I forget or don’t feel up to it – shower every night and quite honestly to brush my teeth some days. It is so easy when we are in high stress, or crazy busy that we forget or drop things that already take us more effort to do – but these habits are essential to feeling good.

Self-love and self-compassion. I’m a work in progress on this. I don’t even bat an eyelash when I feel I can help someone, but when it comes to myself – I bat my eyelashes a lot. So I’ve been working on and researching some affirmations to start my day and have even recently set an alarm about mid-day to remind me to breathe and try out a positive, compassionate affirmation for myself. This section I will keep you posted on.

I could talk for days, and I will – I’ll just try to break it up a bit in my blogs.

If you have any questions about school, organization, self-care plans, pretty much anything – let me know and I will happily explain what I can and give tips on what I do.

That’s all for now !

When Is Summer?

Hello lovlies,

I have been gone and hiding behind a textbook for the last little while. I am in my last 2 weeks of my first semester of practical nursing – I am obsessed with my future profession. But holy cow is it work.

I miss writing and my outlet though and wanted to take a me moment to really embrace some of my passions that centre me.

How are you doing in loving yourself today?

I have been back into meditation and I am actually eating better. The working out thing still needs improvement but there are very few who have perfected this trifecta. I will be back soon though with some reviews and routines and collections.

Thanks for sticking in with me!

Time Managing for Adults

So I have previously stated I graduated but am now back in school. I’m in full-time nursing and working part-time. Not to mention I’m commuting about 30-45 min one way to school. So how do we manage as adults? As an adult we don’t have the option to void all responsibilities and just focus on one task – we must multi-task, that is the key.

I have mentioned many times, I love my agenda/planner. Actually obsessed is probably a better term. I have my agenda on my phone (mycalendar app), a timetable app, my iPhone calendar on my phone and computer and then my written hard book agenda. It may seem excessive but they all have a key purpose.

  1. App – This syncs up with my iPhone and computer calendar. This is where I quickly jot down my work shifts, and any appointments. It is super simple and quick when rushing, and really easy to reference. It allows you to look at a day, week, or month view. I keep it at the weekly view so I can see what’s coming up.
  2. Timetable app – Very simple. It just has me put in what classes are on what day and you can add as little or as much detail as you want. I have time, location, and professor.
  3. iPhone/Computer calendar – This is what I can pull up, and usually keep at a monthly view as a complete overview. It also reminds me of holidays and pretty much to keep in mind the big picture of managing my time.
  4. Hardcopy agenda – This is where I plan. I write down what day I have to do what assignments, test, readings, or homework. It allows me to not stress about things that do not need to be done yet. I just look at the day it is and cross off as I complete the objective.

I do also use virtual sticky notes on my laptop. I have a weekly overview broken down by class of what I need to accomplish. And a master list of my entire semester of when major assignments or tests are. This allows me to keep in mind what’s coming up and it’s easier to write down in my agenda what I need to study and when.

So far this has been my most successful attempts with school, and the least stressed I’ve been. So this routine and way of managing has proven really helpful and efficient for me.

Out the Door in 3 Minutes

Sometimes we wake up late and sometimes we just seem to run out of time but we need go-to’s to feel put together in a hurry. I have broken it down to a 3 minute routine with only 3 products. It is my essentials – mascara, concealer, lipstick – that’s it.

I used the Clinique High Impact mascara, which feels light but makes your eyelashes look beautifully long and natural.

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Then my all time favourite concealer, boi-ing by Benefit. It’s super creamy and high coverage, so I place it under my eyes to lighten the dark circles, and over a couple of blemishes. I find even with acne-prone skin, this concealer doesn’t break me out and allows for my natural skin to be more prevalent while covering some blemish areas.

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Finally lipstick. I love this colour, I got a sample from Sephora of this Marc Jacobs lipstick in the colour berry rouge. I will be purchasing the full size once this is complete. Love the smooth and easy application, and it doesn’t dry your lips out so there are no cracks and flakes.

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The final product, is as follows. You can still see some under eye area but that’s the point, we do not need to look flawless. It’s about enhancing what we love most in ourselves, and feeling confident. And it helps that this routine is under 3 minutes. img_8603

How I Organize Life

Life get’s busy – especially around the holidays. I’m also going back to school in January for nursing! But this adds to the stress. So here are some tips on how I organize my life.

I’m huge into agendas, phone apps and a calendar I can see from my bed so I can always write something down and let it go out of my mind. It’s good to be in the know, but it’s better to be less stressed.

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Above is my wall calendar. It is my monthly overview. So I write work shifts and appointments in but that is about it – its my month at a glance.

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I then have my phone apps. This includes the calendar pre-loaded on and a calendar app that helps me with my weekly glances. (See below).

I also then write out in a big agenda so that when I’m working on the computer or need to remember something I can just write it down and then transfer it to either my phone or wall calendar. The other bonus is the apps will send you notifications when something is coming up and I have a 15 minute warning before appointments or work shifts.

Overall, this is my main attack of keeping my head above water and I hope it helps you out too.