By: Jasmine Faldu (Class 2019) offers tips for maintaining your wellness in dental school
We all know it’s important to stay well hydrated every day to help our bodies function properly. With days plagued with lab work, DAU, clinic, and, better yet, being wait listed for a clinical chair, you might forget to drink water throughout the day. Keep a reusable water bottle with you all day that you can fill at the water stations. Certain brands allow you to latch it on to your bag, which makes for a great hands free option during the day; you may find yourself drinking more water just by having it always available!
Try to keep caffeine intake (coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks) to a minimum throughout the day by substituting these cravings with water, milk, fruit and vegetable juices, or herbal tea.
Find a workout buddy
Most dental students are concerned not only with the esthetics of #8 and 9, but also themselves! You are likely to bump into classmates, and even faculty, at Pottruck or running/biking on the Schuylkill trail. (Pottruck located at 3701 Walnut St. is now free to all graduate students, just bring your ID!)
Reach out to friends to plan workouts together and keep one another motivated to make it a routine. You don’t need to work out 7 days a week to stay in shape; start with a smaller goal of 3 times a week and build from there. You will be surprised at how your body responds in the first two weeks of working out, and hey – you might even enjoy it along the way!
Eat in proportions
Do you catch yourself binging on free pizza during lunch and learns, and then getting a Qdoba bowl at 9pm just to make it through a night of studying for Fixed Prosth? You are not alone! Students often stress eat and don’t move from their library cubicle for an eternity.
Try limiting your intake of unhealthy foods like only devouring one slice of pizza and adding a healthy snack such as an apple or banana to supplement the missing calories. Incorporate more protein into your diet, so you can stay fuller longer during those all-nighters in the basement of Evans. Greek Lady makes awesome salads with generous portions of protein (egg, chicken, etc.) that can be great study fuel.
Make a sleep pattern
I’m sure you are thinking to yourself, if one more person tells me to sleep more I will lose it. In an ideal world 8 hours of sleep a night would be fantastic, but that might not be possible for you in dental school.
Try making a pattern where you fall asleep at a similar time every night; regulating the time you do sleep, even if it is just 6 hours, can help your body recover from the day’s turmoil. Also, try to make a bedtime routine that does not involve electronics. Staring at your phone, catching up on social media can become a trap that takes precious time away from sleep, and then you regret it in the morning when your alarm screams at 7am.
Remember to have fun!
Even though it may seem like there is no free time to enjoy life and everything Philadelphia has to offer, it is important to always take some time for yourself. Whether that means working out, taking a nap, or enjoying a new restaurant, try to treat yourself from time to time. You cannot take care of others if you are not first taking care of yourself! The Happiness Project, a book by Gretchen Rubin has a line that could not be more representative of our current lives, “The days are long but the years are short.” Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!