Wellness for the busy student pharmacist
Neha Nadkarni is a final-year PharmD candidate at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, and a 2021–22 APhA–ASP National Member-at-large.
The fall semester is far from just a string of holidays. In fact, many times it is an amalgam of classes, exams, rotations, extracurricular activities, and jobs. As a student pharmacist, you may experience burnout or lethargy as the semester progresses; if you are an APhA–ASP chapter leader, you may see this manifest as a halt in your chapter’s activities, or as difficulty keeping spirits high. Whether leading and coordinating events for your chapter or simply taking it one exam at a time, the concept of wellness may be especially helpful this time of year.
In Recovery of People with Mental Illness: Philosophical and Related Perspectives, Margaret Swarbrick, PhD, describes wellness as “[a] conscious, deliberate process that requires a person to become aware of and make choices for a more satisfying lifestyle.” Her “8 Dimensions” model is a framework that outlines 8 different aspects of wellness: physical, spiritual, social, intellectual, emotional/mental, occupational, environmental, and financial.
As you look to rest and recover, here are some ways you can approach a well-rounded recharge this winter.
Physical: Listen to your body’s needs and take care of them! This can include working in additional rest, nourishing yourself with healthy foods, and getting physical activity.
Spiritual: Connect with your values and beliefs and allow yourself time to reflect on and celebrate them. This can include journaling, prayer, and meditation.
Social: Engage with your social circles and spend time with friends and family. This can also include gauging your social battery and carving out time to be alone if you need it!
Intellectual: The semester brings a lot of intellectual components already, but this can be a chance for you to explore external interests! Take on activities that mentally stimulate you. Create time to be curious about what interests you outside of pharmacy, as well.
Emotional/Mental: Have a check-in with your emotional well-being and reflect on any experiences from the past semester. Find ways to healthily express them and build relationships, both with others and with yourself.
Occupational: As you approach the end of your break, this can be an opportunity to set goals for the next semester. Envision the ways in which you would like to grow as a student pharmacist and professional, and then use this time to create the building blocks of those aspirations.
Environmental: From the weather outside to your personal living space, this can include a variety of locations. Spend time in places that make you happy. Create a clean and nurturing environment for yourself. Throwing in some holiday decor never hurts!
Financial: Student pharmacist life can be expensive, but this can be an opportunity to further budget and look into future financial management. Set up goals for yourself for the coming semester to ensure a stress-free transition!
Mental health and well-being allow us to fulfill our own needs so that we can be the best providers for our patients.
Have a happy holiday season and remember to address your wellness during this time!