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 !

30 Day Self-Care Challenge | Day 3

Ok so I’m genuinely surprised how hard this is to remember to make time for myself to do about 20 minutes worth of self care in my entire day. But it is such an amazing feeling as I do this list and that I am learning not to judge good or bad reports on my ability to accomplish but that it is something I am successful at because I am trying.

My picks:

  1. Meditate for 5-10 Minutes a Day
  2. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for
  3. Watch a TED talk
  4. Yoga

The rundown:

Meditation – I started a 15 minute guided one, and managed about 3 minutes until my distraction was pulled by people around. So far this is my biggest opportunity for growth.

Grateful for – 1. dinner with my boyfriend 2. liking my mom 3. bubble baths

TED talk – This fell through today, but I watched Youtube videos on healthy habits and routines, which was just as lovely.

Yoga – I managed to go a little bit longer and a little bit deeper into my stretches! It felt really nice with my music going, and a lot of deep breathing. I will definitely get back there.

30 Day Self-Care Challenge | Day 2

So yesterday was day 2 of my challenge. You can find my previous post outlining what I’m doing here. I would say yesterday was semi-successful.

My picks again were:

  1. Meditate for 5-10 Minutes a Day
  2. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for
  3. Watch a TED talk
  4. Yoga

The rundown:

Meditation – I did not manage to get to it.

Grateful for – 1. my decent health 2. the ability to drive 3. personal phone calls

TED talk – I watched a 10 minute ‘inspiration’ on my TED app (All it takes is 10 mindful minutes) about meditation. He was a great speaker and it was really interesting. Totally captivated me.

Yoga – I’m still gentle due to being post-surgery, and my dogs really wanted to be apart of it. So my down dog became “tackle the owner” but it was nice to stretch and still ease myself back into it.

Setting Up My Happy Space

A lot of what I’m coming into is embracing my life and change – while maintaining special spots in the house for myself that just make me plain happy. Today I set up a small office area in preparation for back to school (2 weeks!) where I can store my stuff and printer, have my laptop set out and plenty of space for the mass quantity of textbooks I just purchased (ouch).

It’s in our living room / slowly becoming library. Which is right by the kitchen and in open space. Why this is so important for me – I need dedicated space to work, but I hate feeling isolated while working, I need interaction even in the essence of just presence around. I am so happy. I plan to get some cute little desk decoration ideas and amp up my space a little. I’m all over Pinterest, who isn’t?

I’ll update on the desk space.

Also, I’m starting to prep to make a yoga room/meditation spot for myself. This is what I’m most looking forward too. Again, Pinterest is huge. But I’m really putting positive energy into this process and feeling great about it.

I strongly believe the better and more positive vibes/energy/karma you put out, the better you feel overall. It’s simple, be kind and you feel kinder.

If anyone has links or ideas on desk decor and/or meditation spots please let me know!

Goal Setting // What Do You Want In Life?

So I’ve been out for about a week, due to post surgery recovery – not feeling 100% normal but definitely getting there – which is super nice. I’ve done a lot of reflecting and working with a coach on my overall wellness and it has me thinking ‘if I could do anything in the world, what would make me completely happy?’ For me that’s giving back and helping others. That genuinely brings me peace and joy.

I’ve reached out to a couple places in hopes for volunteering opportunities and am eagerly awaiting new possibilities. I’ve also started to make some long term and short term goals. I’m not going to go into total detail but a big short term goal for me is putting an emphasis on self-care and integrating that into my daily life. Not only is this so important for everyone but especially those that deal with mental health – taking care of yourself is vital for success and happiness. So that being said, I made a small self care guideline to keep me on track daily and am working towards really getting it all done. This doesn’t mean though that I beat myself up if I don’t do it “perfectly” – there is no perfect way when it comes to this kind of routine, just what you can do as your best effort.

Morning:

  • Wake up refreshed after 7-10 hours of sleep  // between 6-6:30
  • Make healthy breakfast for myself + coffee to go
  • Meditate // gratitude journal
  • Review schedule for the day

Throughout the day:

  • Continue drinking water
  • Eat a healthy lunch
  • Take a walk
  • Keep in touch with family/friends

Evening:

  • Healthy dinner
  • Blog
  • TED talk
  • Time with family
  • Time with boyfriend
  • Homework prep
  • yoga

 

Breakfast is actually something I am really focusing on – it seems so simple but I either skip it or eat something that doesn’t set up my day for success and well being. Which in turn leads to over eating or eating junk for the rest of my day and feeling pretty lousy.

I’ll keep you posted on my successes, challenges and learning experiences as I head back into the school year !