Hello! I'm a medical student in London with a big interest in preventing disease and optimising health. I believe the best tools for health are the most simple – eat right, move often, sleep well and foster positive communities and relationships. My interests in medicine range widely, from focused nutrition, metabolism and sports medicine to wide scale public health projects. Find out more in my blogs below or by using the links on the right!
This post is trying to convince YOU to get involved with a project that I came up with while studying procrastinating at my desk.
– It is based upon the simple concept of helping your fellow human, family member, friend or peer.
– Its stimulus is a certain time of the year: the revision period before the final exams.
– Its aim is to optimise how we deal with this stressful period, with the belief that lessons learned now will benefit our lives even after the intensity of exams has faded away.
It takes inspiration from what I have learned this year – that we study extreme states to illuminate upon what is ’normal’. For example, physician-scientists climb the tallest mountain on Earth to unravel the turmoiled physiology of a sick patient. Or, studying intricate molecular pathways that foster deadly cancer growth to understand how to extend human longevity.
This project won’t have you scaling mountains to simulate sepsis, but exam season does place a significant stress upon you. I believe we can use this stress to trigger sustainable changes to better your health.
Let’s face it! Anything could be better than the crap that goes on in exam season! In the past I have found my life turns upside down – consider these potential problems that a few friends and I have shared:
– Morning routine goes out the window.
– Late morning starts, even later nights spent finishing essays and revision notes.
– Your food bills look like you’re hosting a pizza party, every night.
– When exam dates and deadlines loom, stress can seem overwhelming and difficult to deal with.
My friend shakily called me at 4AM on the DAY OF OUR EXAM to tell me she hadn’t slept for 48 hours.
– Gym? What gym? Walk? What?
– Weight gain, eczema flare ups, acne breakouts. All signs that there is a spanner in our physiological/metabolic works.
The above scenarios paint a picture of scraping survival, throwing overboard everything that we hold close to prioritise our exam success. How about we reverse this image?
– Wake feeling refreshed and ready to go.
– Mood highs and lows are replaced by confidence and calm. If we feel low and jittery, we use self-employed tools to diffuse our stressors.
– Food can be a brilliant tool to maximise our performance – by providing excellent nutrition, preventing deficiencies, optimising concentration and preventing brain-fog.
– To work efficiently in the day to make time in the afternoon and evening for you – I read, write and see family and friends. You have your own fingerprint of activities, that are important to do to keep you sane and keep you, you.
– Get up and exercise. Whether it is to keep active or even to pick up a new sport, exam time provides an opportunity to allocate time to making your physical body healthy. It is tempting to put exercise aside in favour of studying, but if exercise is used correctly it offers a positive feed-forward.
Exercise-> feel good -> concentrate better -> feel good -> sleep better -> feel good -> eat better -> be better.
I believe that exam season provides an opportunity for optimum.
Post your day-to-day activities on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) using #MedicineForStudents.
It is what it claims to be – an opportunity to maximise our health to deal with the negative effects that exam stress brings. This offers an opportunity for shared experiences and benefits, a community of students that have health in mind. It is a platform to educate and learn. It has the power to forge long term change.
For some initial inspiration – How about starting with some of these?
Your breakfast – What did you eat? Why is this a healthy choice?
Your desk – How is this optimised for your learning style? My wall is COVERED in sticky notes – when I can’t reach for something in my brain, I glance up and get a memory refresher. Over time, repeated exposures to stimuli should make them stick via long-term potentiation of neurons.
Your lunch – Cracked the secret to banishing afternoon sleepiness? Let us know.
Your exercise – Get active! Go for a walk in the morning before breakfast to unlock your fat-burning aerobic metabolism. Fit in a body weight circuit session before dinner to maximise insulin sensitivity.
Your drinks and aids – Coffee, tea, latest supplements… let people know what you use to get ahead. And on the topic of drinks, share an image of the champagne celebration when that exam is done and dusted.
Give it a go.
I challenge you to putting up ONE post on Instagram.