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Tips for Staying Physically and Mentally Healthy Through Vet School

Posted by Jessica Gramlich on September 21, 2015 at 1:00 PM
Jessica Gramlich
Dr. Gramlich is a 2008 graduate of North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing a one-year emergency internship in Rhode Island, she spent five years working as a small animal general practitioner in New Hampshire.

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Vet school is undoubtedly one of the busiest and most stressful times in your life. With all that you’ve got going on, it’s important to stay physically healthy and mentally sharp to get you through it all. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy:

1. Exercise! Staying active and having a regular exercise schedule is helpful in many ways. Whether it’s running, walking, biking, yoga, volleyball, or turbo kickboxing, keeping a scheduled exercise routine will help you stay both physically and mentally fit. Getting your blood flowing and your heart rate up will keep you mentally alert and focused for studying and for sitting through long lectures. It’s also a great way to reduce stress and prevent some of the general lethargy and malaise that sets in around the middle of the semester. A short exercise break is also great during marathon study sessions to help you clear your mind and re-focus.

2. Sleep! We all know that most vet students are severely sleep deprived, but it’s a major factor in a person’s well being that should be a high priority. Most people function best with 6-8 hours of sleep. Any more than that, you may feel sluggish and lethargic. Any less, and you may be tired and sleepy all day. Having adequate sleep also helps to keep your immune system functioning well in fighting off those pesky colds and flus. Quick 10-20 minute power naps are great for re-energizing yourself in the middle of the day, just don't squeeze those in during class.

3. Have good eating habits! You’ve heard it before, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s not just the act of eating breakfast that’s important, but also what you are actually consuming. Most vet students don’t have the time or energy to fix an entire 3-course meal for breakfast, but grabbing a yogurt, some fruit, or a bowl of oatmeal or cereal while you’re running out the door is definitely do-able for anyone. A light breakfast will help get your brain and metabolism going for the day.

Besides eating a healthy breakfast, having a light lunch or dinner that won’t weigh you down or put you into a food coma is important to help you stay alert during your afternoon lectures or night time study sessions. Having healthy snacks like fruit and nuts are a great way to reduce hunger between meals too.

4. Relax! Besides exercising, it’s important to have a hobby or some way to relax and let your mind take a break from veterinary medicine. If sports are not your thing, try picking up another hobby to help you de-stress and get your mind off of school on a regular basis. Some ideas for relaxing hobbies include sewing or knitting, gardening, maintaining an aquarium, reading non-veterinary books and magazines, or art projects like painting and photography.

Hopefully these tips will help you stay both physically and mentally well through your vet school adventures. To your health!

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