This weekend has been all about unwinding for me. I’m on vacation with my mom at Hilton Head Island, SC. As professional students, time to unwind is slim. I can probably count on one hand the times I was able to truly relax during my first 2 years of medical school. Ok, I may be exaggerating but the point still stands and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like there’s never time to really chill. So if you find yourself with a day off, a 3-day weekend, or even just post-exam, here’s some tips to help you take full advantage of your time to unwind!
Get a massage
Most of us in school aren’t in a position to be getting massages on a regular basis, but if you’re long over due like me, go ahead and schedule one for the next time you’ll be deserving (post-exam, end of rotation, after a presentation, etc. ). You can maybe even pay for it in advance so on the day of, you don’t feel the sting as much. I got a massage this weekend with my mom and I was so tense the massage therapist had to literally walk all over my back to relieve the built up tension in my muscles. She almost sounded worried about my lifestyle and told me these stretches I needed to do on the regular to keep my body loose. I didn’t realize how much the stress was taking a toll on my body!
Take a walk
Early morning or later evening walks are great for clearing your mind and relaxing. Go with a friend and just decompress with them or plug your ears and play some calming music. This is a leisure walk, not a power walk, you shouldn’t be out of breath. As a matter of fact, taking deep breaths while you walk can add another layer of calm. My mom and I met 10,000 steps both days we we’ve been here, and still feel relaxed!
Did you know there’s a right way to breathe? I definitely didn’t. When I was getting my massage, my therapist told me that the way I breathed wasn’t as tension-releasing as it could be. I was breathing with expansion of my chest as opposed to expansion of my abdomen, which is a much more relaxing, full breathing technique. If you’re into breathing exercises, you probably already know that. But for the rest of us, deep breathing for minutes at a time is a great way to unwind on a daily basis! Just make sure you breathe into the belly before you allow the chest wall to rise for the full effect.
Read a leisure book
Finding time for that seems impossible right? But if you have a whole weekend off, you can spend hours getting lost in a good story. Or consider reading books that teach you something you’ve always wanted to know about like business or finance (because you know we don’t learn enough about that in school).
Laughter is nature’s medicine! And not just any laugh, that laugh that rises up from deep within. Watch a funny movie/tv show and just allow yourself to laugh wholeheartedly. Even let a tear drop. Or get with one of your besties and tell stories or make a funny video. Just feed off of each other’s positive energy.
Duh. We gotta make up for all of the lost time.
These are all the things we’ve been doing during this relaxing weekend. Hope you incorporate some of these things the next time you have a chance to unwind!