Tag Archive for: wellness

How to Navigate Daylight Savings This Year

Daylight on a green leaf
You need water and sunlight…you’re kind of like a houseplant with more complicated emotions 😉

In the coming days, most of the continental U.S. will adopt Daylight Savings Time (DST). From March to approximately November, most people will lose a whole hour of sleep by moving the clocks forward one hour. Because of this shift, those individuals will be exposed to less morning sunlight and more evening sunlight.

If you feel like your whole body is dragging for days, or even weeks, following this time change you’re not alone. Losing an hour of sleep may sound insignificant, but as most parents of small children and exhausted students cramming for exams can attest, that precious 60 minutes makes a huge difference.

The disruption of your circadian rhythm can lead to a host of difficulties including increase in depression, slow metabolism, cluster headaches, and weight gain. Further, in the weeks following DST there’s a noted spike in fatal car accidents, strokes, digestive and immune related diseases, and risk of heart attacks. AND…who wants to study when they feel like they can’t stay awake? It can make you feel more awake at night instead of during the day and then your whole schedule is out the window.

Daylight Savings Savers

This transition is difficult, but there are things you can do to help if you know you are particularly effected by the time change.

Maintain your sleep hygiene. If you have a solid sleep routine, be sure to keep on top of it during the time change. If you regularly journal or read before lights out, or whatever the ritual may be, be sure to start that process one hour sooner than normal to trigger the same conditioning.

Get outside in the morning! Depending on your geographical location, this may be easier said than done. However, if you can get out into the morning sunlight for just a little while that can help keep your circadian rhythm intact, or at least less skewed. Too cold where you live? Some people find benefit of using a sunlight lamp!

Try a morning workout routine. This involves the brute force of physical activity to wake up your body and reset your internal clock. Some people find a morning run refreshing, some people would rather crawl in a hole than do that. It’s all about balance 🙂

Do you bounce back from the DST transition, or do you find it difficult to function for a while? We want to help you either way. Let us help you get studying back on rhythm by trying out our Question Banks and find the best option for you! Or Contact us with any questions you have so we can help you set up a plan to help you reset your individual exam prepping clock.

REFERENCE:

https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/daylight-savings-time-your-health#:~:text=%22With%20DST%2C%20between%20March%20and,and%20awake%20in%20the%20evening.

Avoiding Burnout at the End of the Year

We’re almost to the finish line of 2022! This time of year is rife with the possibilities of BURNOUT. Are you starting to feel the creeping feelings of exhaustion, alienation, or reduced performance? Or just feeling like you’re ready to be DONE with this phase? Burnout is common, especially among care providers, but it doesn’t have to take over your Holiday season. We have tips and tricks on how to avoid the end of year burnout so you can finish out strong.

man lying on road with burnout marks

What is burnout and why are we talking about this?

First, what exactly is burnout, and what causes it? This might seem like a silly question. But it’s worth talking about for a second. According to Mayo Clinic, burnout is “…a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity”. In other words, you’ve been doing the same (or similar enough) things for a long time and you’ve reached your capacity to keep doing it at the same performance level.

This is important to talk about because burnout and depression share a lot of similar symptoms. And while you might be experiencing the dragging feeling of typical tiredness, late October through end of February are the months when some folks tend to face the worst symptoms of depression as well. Why? A few reasons are the culprit: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), spurred by the lack of sunshine and being cooped up inside, holidays spent without family or friends (whether due to a death or alienation), or inversely holidays spent WITH family or friends that are not safe to be around can be the top of the list.

Depression and burnout can feel the same, except for a few key differences. Burnout almost always is focused around performance of a task, such as school or a job or even long term care of a loved one. You feel tired, cynical, irritable, emotionally numb, have trouble concentrating or getting going, or gastrointestinal issues. Depression involves all of these, but also low self esteem, hopelessness, and/or suicidal ideation. For your own wellbeing, it’s essential to distinguish between these two things.

If you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself or others please reach out for help. Call 988 to contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for 24/7 free access to support.

Let’s talk about how to help!

Ok, this is easier said than done (as most things are). You’re experiencing some burnout, whether that is from finals, rotations, school demands, or your current work position. We have some ideas on how to help you get through the next few weeks or months:

  • Get support. This can’t be stressed enough. Grab a cup of coffee with a friend, call your mom/therapist/other trusted person, or commiserate with your cohort. People are social beings and we need to be in community with others to thrive. You will be amazed how much better you’ll feel just by venting for an hour to another person!
  • Journal. A great tool for monitoring your stress and coping levels is by journaling for a few minutes every day. The act of expelling all the negative feelings you have out of yourself is something quick (more or less), easy, and free. It’s also something that can create a sense of autonomy over your stress. Writing things out allows you to evaluate and mull things over in a different way that can lead to more creative solutions or coping!
  • Self-care stress management. Again, easier said than done, but will reap benefits if you implement it. This looks like aerobic exercise, yoga, mindfulness meditation, or a hobby that relaxes you (art, crafting, reading, bubble baths, sitting under a tree…the options are endless!). Carve out the time for YOU and no one else that has nothing to do with any of the things stressing you out.
  • If possible, do something that actively makes your situation better. How? If you’re a student prepping for a board exam or needing help with the school year, give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Or, contact us about our tutoring options!

REF: Depression: What is burnout? Informed Health Online. https://www.informedhealth.org/what-is-burnout.html. Accessed May 13, 2021

Swenson S, Shanafelt T. Mayo Clinic Strategies to Reduce Burnout: 12 Actions to Create the Ideal Workplace. Oxford University Press; 2020.

Failure is a Fearsome Thing. Here’s How to Combat It.

Didn’t make the score you hoped? While it sure feels like a failure, here’s why it isn’t the end of your journey.

Man holding sign that says "failure"

Failure Does Not Define You!

When you spend so much time (and money!) preparing for a big test, failing can feel like a literal slap in the face. Picture this: you’ve been studying like crazy, going through exam prep books, watching lectures, taking practice exams, and the week of your test you get a cold. Then your car breaks down. And it’s finals week. You do your best, but still come out short of what you were aiming for.

Quitting time? Sure feels like it. You probably feel like an imposter, like anyone else “would have” done better (when in reality, a healthy and non-distracted you would have done better, too!). You start to second guess if you should even be trying to do this field, or if you should opt for something different. This is the time to take a step back.

Did that short score feel like a punch in the gut? Absolutely. Does it mean you are a failure in everything you do? Of course not! Take a minute and think of all the amazing accomplishments you’ve made to get this far. Whether that be post-secondary education, publications, presentations, or any of the other hundred or so responsibilities you’ve smashed in the last few years. You. Are. Doing. A. Great. Job.

Who, Me?

Yes, you! Some days we will fall short and that is terrifying. But it also should be inspiring when you look back and see how far you’ve come from where you started. It is too easy to get wrapped up in all the prepping and studying that our very identities become enmeshed in the outcome of something like a psychiatry board exam. While they are important and definitely will be a requirement to pursue this field, sometimes it’s worth stepping back and remembering who YOU are is more than the number that test will spit out.

We all need this at times. Even when the board exams are behind you, different things will crop up in your career that will leave you reeling and questioning everything. No one is perfect, and no one can predict what life will throw at you. All you can do is evaluate the situation at hand and….

And… And What??

Study, work hard, and do your best! After you’ve taken your day or two to breathe, dive right back in. Is that first score a disappointment? Yep. But that score does not mean YOU are a disappointment. It means you get another opportunity to give it your best shot and come in swinging. You can also check out our previous blog on what to do after you’ve failed an exam for more direction on where to go next!

Maybe give a question bank a shot 😉 (see our free trial here!)

Studying Tips Broken Down: Set yourself up for success!

Time to get back to studying… wow… it seems like just yesterday the summer was just kicking off!

Now it’s time to head back to school, so naturally, we’ve received some DMs asking “How can I make the most of the upcoming school year?”.

Going back to school can seem like an overwhelming time and it can be, but we’ve put together a few studying tips that should help you excel in your learning.

Our Top Five Tips!

1️⃣ Get Organized…

Get all your study materials together, ensure you know your new schedule, and plan your time properly. Take a look at each class; What do you need? What do you already have?

2️⃣ Be Active In Your Learning.

Don’t just follow your current curriculum. Seek out other experiences and knowledge whether you’re in a group studying, participating in volunteer labs/programs/research groups, and much more. You can gain more knowledge and experience this way!

3️⃣ Study, Study, Study — but with others!

Studying with others can improve your memory recall, provide other points of view, and give you a great trusted group whom you can make memories with outside of just staying. Since you’re all going through the same experiences together it can help ease the stress. You could even utilize various question banks and tools to make the most of the study sessions!

4️⃣ Use Your Time Wisely

Just because others are going out every night doesn’t mean you need to… you can still have a solid social life AND go to school. Write down and prioritize everything you need to do. Ensure you have built a solid routine, and get what you need to do, but also make sure you are taking time to have fun too (which brings us to our next section.)

5️⃣ Take Care Of Your Mental Health!!!

This is last but certainly NOT least. We’ve said it before and we will keep saying it. Take care of yourself and your mental health. You need to ensure you aren’t pushing yourself too far. Find things and activities which help you relax. School is not forever so take everything one step at a time. Use your support group/study group we mentioned in point 3.

Need some additional tips or a tutor? Contact us today!

Who is My Psych Board?

My Psych Board is a board review website created by Dr. Abdel, MD, MBB. CH., founder and CEO of Westlake Brain Health clinic in Cleveland, OH. This program offers access to unique courses and question banks to prepare residents and medical students for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) Psychiatry Certification Exam, Psychiatry Resident In-Training Examination, United States Medical Licensing board examination, and Nurse Practitioner examination. Each question bank is specifically tailored to the required difficulty and type of questions expected for the different board exams. New questions are continually being added to the question banks, ensuring the most current and up-to-date information is being made available.

My Psych Board is created by experts in the field and covers all the topics you need to master in order to pass your board-certifying exams. Feedback is given immediately in Practice Mode as questions are answered, including in-depth explanations that accompany each question for both correct and incorrect answer options. Additionally, students have the option of accessing a one-time phone call with Dr. Abdel to discuss their best studying strategies and one-on-one tutoring to help them gain maximum preparation. My Psych Board is customer oriented; we take your feedback seriously and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience! 

How to make studying enjoyable (even in the summer!)

How to make studying enjoyable (even in the summer!)

Earlier this week we were asked by Melissa –⁠

“I know I should keep studying because I’ve been putting in so much work this year but since we are in the middle of the summer it’s getting hard to do everything. I’m putting all my time into working on prep and studies, but I want to be able to still hang out with my friends. Then on the alternate side, I will go by weeks without studying because I feel I covered enough…what can I do? Is it even possible to enjoy my summer at all?”⁠

☀️Well.. thanks for the question, Melissa. The short answer is YES you can enjoy your summer & ensure you’re studying efficiently. Taking advantage of your summer break can make all the difference so let’s dive into our top 5 essential tips!⁠

➡️ FIND BALANCE⁠

Ensure you’re not overloading yourself. You should split your time between enjoying the summer, time with friends/family, & studying. It will help you feel more refreshed & focused. If you focus on studying too much…you’re going to reach the ceiling & not take on additional information.⁠

➡️ CREATE A PLAN⁠

This can be done in any number of ways from writing a schedule, making to-do lists, setting deadlines, prioritizing your work, & so much more! We’ve said it before, everyone’s studying routine varies so find what works for YOU! Once your plane is in place follow it to a T!⁠

➡️ CHANGE UP YOUR STUDYING LOCATION⁠

Now, this MAY not work for everyone but it’s worth giving it a try. The weather is beautiful so why not try going outside? A change in scenery could help you stay more focused. But, if you notice it’s slowing you down, it might be time for you to change up that location too.⁠

➡️ KEEP A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE⁠

The saying goes “30 Days should be long enough to help you create a new habit.” We’ve found that since you’ve already somewhat tuned yourself to studying before the summer it may be easier to pick it back up.⁠

➡️ REWARD YOURSELF!!!⁠

It’s summer after all… so get yourself a treat or do something nice for yourself. If you have something to look forward to at the end of each study session it will help motivate you!

Are you ready? Let’s jump in. Brush up on your knowledge with a FREE trial of our Question Banks. Featuring Q-Banks for the ABPN, USMLE, Nurse Practitioner, and PRITE Exams!

Feeling like you need a bit of extra help? Contact us OR sign up for our tutoring!

Our Top Tips: How to Survive Your Psychiatric Residency!

Our Top Tips - How to Survive Your Psychiatric Residency!

Ok, hear us out for a minute…⁠ Surviving your residency is easier than you think.⁠ ⁠ 

YES, of course, that’s a loaded statement… NO, we aren’t saying it’s not incredibly challenging (because it is…) but we promise you’re overthinking it. You CAN do this. You may have heard horror stories or that it was the worst moment of someone’s life but let’s be real. 

It shouldn’t be.⁠

 Thousands before you have done it and thousands after you will do it too.

How you handle it makes all the difference in what you’ll get out of your residency.⁠ Here are 5 TIPS on how to survive:

#1 HAVE A POSITIVE MINDSET…

Before you begin anything, you should always go in with the correct mindset. If you think things are going to be horrible…then they will be! But if you go in understanding that there will be both highs and lows, you’ll be better prepared to face them.

#2 HAVE A GREAT SUPPORT SYSTEM…

This goes with most things in life. The company you keep will help get you through hard moments. That’s what friends are for. But this support system should also be those around you too! Other residents know what you’re going through, so be sure to include them. It helps so much! ⁠

#3 DON’T NEGLECT YOUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH…

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Take care of your mind AND body! Don’t bottle things up, talk to your support system, and get further help if you need it. It’s a challenging time. Outside of this, being active works WONDERS. Your body will thank you.

#4 IT’S OK TO SAY “I DON’T KNOW” (DO IT MORE!)…

You don’t know everything (that’s why you’re here). Don’t be a “know it all”, it can come back to hurt you. If you’re asked something and you’re really unsure, say that! Saying I don’t know will help you get the answers you need. Don’t feel silly. You’re learning!

#5 IT GETS BETTER…

It will get better!!! The start can be overwhelming and a lot to take in, but use that support system. Once you get in the groove, you’ll start to feel much more relaxed. Give it time. It’s long, draining, and emotional but there are perks. They may not last long but the amount of information and experiences you’ll take away from it, in the end, is all worth it. 

You got this, you can survive… you can thrive! ⁠

Still, feeling overwhelmed?

Contact us and let’s talk through it together.

Group Studying VS Self Studying (Which is better?)

an illustration of Students sitting around a table studying together. A text bubble reads "ok next chapter"

Studying alone vs with a group is just a personal choice right? Well not exactly… 🤔⁠ It turns out that studying can actually be MORE effective than when alone & have other pros!

🥰 When in a group…⁠
– You’re held more accountable to study.⁠
– You can feel more motivated as the topics will seem less mundane.⁠
– Human interactions can lower your stress and anxiety levels.⁠
– You get an extra rewarding feeling when answering questions correct (since others are there to praise you)⁠
– Share various techniques (you might find something NEW that works better for you!)⁠
– You can test each other so it’s not just constant question review.⁠
– You will ensure you’re not missing any subjects.⁠
– You will have a higher chance of staying more organized.⁠
– You won’t be the only one providing info, others can take the load off of you.⁠
– Best of all, you may build and create new long lasting friendships! You’re all going through the same things…it will bring you closer together!⁠

Now of course with any positive comes the negative so be careful… studying with others can lead to more distractions, side conversations, and procrastination ❌ If at any point the studying isn’t working make sure you make adjustments as needed.⁠

But hey…If you’ve never tried a group setting give it a shot!…it can be the great start of fun times after you study!⁠


Did you know we offer a FREE trial for our question banks? Just head over to our website (exams.mypsychboard.com) to get started today risk-free (with no Credit Card required!)

Feeling like you need a bit of extra help?

Contact us OR sign up for our tutoring!

How to make the most of DOWNTIME while in school

Text reads "How to make the most of DOWNTIME while in school!" it shows 2 students walking into a beautiful school and then a desk inside with a green chalk board.

Are you feeling overwhelmed with school or maybe you feel as if you’re not doing enough..?⁠

Here are our top 3 tips on how YOU can make the most of your downtime while in school.. it’s not all books and tests, you can have fun too!⁠

Stay Active!

Exercise is crucial to your mental health, not just physical! Getting up and being active can help by reducing anxiety and depression, improving your mood and self esteem! Studies show it also alleviates social withdrawal and improves your ability to study and learn!

Be Social!

Talk to your fellow students and friends! It will break up the monotony of your classes. Go do something you enjoy, join a club, or just go grab coffee. Being social ALSO has positive effects on your study routines!

Study Study Study!

This should go without saying…make sure you use your time wisely! Although the other topics are essential to your mental health…so is studying!


📲 SHARE this with someone who could use the help! Are you enjoying these tips? Check out our previous post on how you can get the most out of studying. It’s a lifesaver…

Did you know we offer a FREE trial for our question banks? Just head over to our website (exams.mypsychboard.com) to get started today risk-free (with no Credit Card required!)

Feeling like you need a bit of extra help?

Contact us OR sign up for our tutoring!