When you decide to start CRNA school, one of the biggest challenges is realizing that life doesn’t stop for you.   Unlike my undergrad days where all I had on my plate was school, the occasional fight with the boyfriend or girl drama, there weren’t as many distractions and stressors as there are now.

“Me” time suddenly turned into Me + Nagelhout + 8 hrs sitting at my desk.  I don’t want you all to develop that equation every single day because it only equals one thing = STRESS. (ok… I got bars though! haha)

Before starting your semester, whether it be the first or last, make a schedule (Read about preparing for your semester HERE). It doesn’t have to be extremely detailed hour to hour, but write down the important things like class time, clinical, study time, family appointments, etc.  Then, find at least, 2 hours where you can do something that you love.  It doesn’t have to be all at once, it can be as little as 5 mins in the morning and night each day.   If you have a family, then schedule time to spend with them.  It can be going to the park every other weekend, or having a special dinner.  Make sure these things are in your schedule and the time is accounted for.

This isn’t going to make CRNA school stress free, but it will provide the structure that you’ll need to remember to take care of yourself! Make this a guilt-free time where you can do what you like and not think about anesthesia for one moment.  It may sound crazy, but depriving yourself of the care that you need will lead to major mental distractions during your study sessions, making it less productive.

While it’s great to say that I sat at my desk for 8 hours “studying,” my mind was elsewhere.  I was mentally and physically exhausted, but I continued to push myself because I thought that’s what you have to do while you’re in CRNA school. I learned quickly that it’s not an effective strategy…at least not for me.   I started off CRNA school with a ticking stress bomb… like I said, life doesn’t stop.  My positivity and faith were the two things that prevented me from having a complete breakdown.

It blew up before I could even throw the bomb further away… I ended a very long relationship immediately before starting CRNA school.   Any stability that I had, my #1 support system and foundation crumbled right before my eyes.  Our family lost two great friends months apart, then less than 6 months later, my grandfather passed unexpectedly.  It was a whirlwind of events… but I remembered that while nothing can bring those people or relationships back,  it furthers my purpose, my dream and to make them all proud.

I take out a decent amount of time during the week for blogging, Instagram shenanigans, running and relaxing bubble baths. I treat myself because I know I worked hard that week; I know I deserve a break from studying.  “Work hard, play hard” has officially become my motto.

I take my break, relax, then get back to business.

What are some self-care practices that help you?

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