Tag Archive for: wellness

How to Never Forget Types of Boundaries

brick wall boundaries

Everyone should be aware of their boundaries. While that seems like a no-brainer, it’s not uncommon for people to either be unaware of what boundaries are, or, be caught by surprise that they’ve been neglecting to maintain a healthy boundary with someone in their life. And while you may be well aware of what they are, sometimes it’s difficult to recall exactly what they look like in practice. We have a way to keep them in mind!

Boundaries are a vital part of how we interact with others. They help us keep relationships safe and healthy, while also keeping ourselves safe and healthy. Have you ever had an interaction with someone that left you feeling unintentionally vulnerable or exposed? Or taken advantage of? That niggling discomfort is usually a good indicator that your boundaries have been violated.

What are the types of boundaries?

There are different boundary styles. As anything, it’s rarely cut and dry that people adhere to one type or the other. There’s some interesting connection between boundary and relational attachment styles that is worth delving into if this topic interests you!

Some ways to think about boundaries are in terms of octopuses, brick walls, and windows. What? –Yes, you read that right.

A person who may be like an octopus is someone with little to no boundaries with themselves or others. They reach their tentacles into other people’s lives and envelope other people into their lives. They have little distinguishing regard for what topics are appropriate to share, they don’t say “no” to being asked anything (and usually expect the same from others), and often suffer from burn out because of this.

A brick wall boundary is as you may imagine, a person who has rigid and unmoving boundaries. They also, unfortunately, have great difficulty having close relationships with others because they are unwilling to allow others into intimate spaces with them. They may seem cold, or distant, while also being quite lonely and disconnected.

Lastly, a window. Windows represent a person that has firm boundaries in place that allows them to keep others at a reasonable distance, while also allowing them to view the world and open up when appropriate. They can close themselves off to people when necessary, but also allow for intimate closeness.

This is, of course, a very simplified conceptualization of a much broader topic. But, now when you think of boundaries you’ll probably unconsciously think about octopuses and brick walls, which is more fun than thinking about technical terms 😉

Other than our unconventional ways of discussing psycho-relational topics, we also offer tutoring options, study guides, and have a whole arsenal of topics in our Question Banks . Contact us for more information!

Easy Ways to Make Time for Self-Care

practice self-care with me time

Self-care can mean a lot of different things to different people. When you’re in the throes of studying, conducting observerships or rotations, and juggling professional and personal life events, it can be easy to forget to take a minute for yourself.

It’s important to unplug from everything once in a while and give yourself permission to just take care of yourself. As someone in the profession of caring for others, don’t put yourself in the backseat all the time! Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate or time consuming (unless you want it to). Here are a few ideas if you need a nudge in the right direction to take a breather:

Easy Self-Care Ideas

  1. Do some aerobic exercise
  2. Take a hot bath/shower. For added zing, add some essential oils or light a candel!
  3. Take a nap
  4. Meet a friend for coffee
  5. Take yourself out to dinner at a nice restaurant
  6. Go for a walk in a local park
  7. Try cooking a new dish
  8. Practice meditation
  9. Engage in journaling
  10. Explore a new outdoor area (parks, trails, ponds)
  11. Play your favorite video game
  12. Listen to a fun podcast
  13. Start a project you’ve been putting off
  14. Clean your room and make your bed
  15. Watch a few episodes of a show- and don’t feel guilty about it

This is of course the tip of the iceberg. How you recharge is completely dependent on your personality and personal preferences. Some people like being alone, and others feel revitalized by being around more people. Some people love being outdoors, and others would rather stay inside in the air conditioning on a sunny day.

Really, all that matters is that you’re cognizant of when you’re starting to feel burned out, and you take a step back to care for yourself. What are some of your favorite ways to take “me” time? Or better question, when was the last time you took that time?

We are in the business of helping you get on track professionally, but that also includes making sure our future and current practitioners are also taking care of themselves. Need more assistance? We offer tutoring options, study guides, and have a whole arsenal of topics in our Question Banks . Contact us and see how My Psych Board can help you!

Tips to Have a Successful Summer

summer icecream

Summer is a time of warmth, joy, and adventure. Whether you’re planning a beach vacation or just enjoying some time off from work or school, there are plenty of ways to make the most of this sunny season. But what’s the secret to a truly successful summer? Here are a few tips to help you have the best summer ever.

  1. Prioritize your health and well-being
    Summer is a time when many of us let loose and indulge in all sorts of unhealthy habits, like drinking too much alcohol, eating junk food, and neglecting our exercise routines. But if you want to feel your best and make the most of this season, it’s important to prioritize your health and well-being. That means taking care of yourself by eating nutritious foods, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of exercise. You don’t have to give up all the fun of summer, but balance is key. Make sure you’re also getting enough rest and relaxation to recharge your batteries.
  2. Embrace new experiences
    Summer is the perfect time to try new things and embrace new experiences. Whether you’re exploring a new city, trying a new activity, or simply trying a new type of food, stepping out of your comfort zone can help you grow and learn. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to new opportunities and adventures. You never know what you might discover or who you might meet.
  3. Connect with others
    Summer is a social season, and connecting with others is a key part of making the most of it. Whether you’re spending time with family and friends, meeting new people, or attending events and gatherings, building meaningful connections with others can bring joy and fulfillment to your summer. Make an effort to be present and engaged in your interactions with others. Put away your phone and focus on the people around you. Listen actively and be open to different perspectives and ideas.
  4. Practice gratitude
    Gratitude is an important habit to cultivate all year round, but it’s especially important in the summer. With so much beauty and abundance around us, it’s easy to take things for granted. But by practicing gratitude, we can cultivate a sense of appreciation and joy that can enhance our summer experience. Take time each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for, whether it’s the warmth of the sun on your skin, the beauty of a sunset, or the kindness of a friend. By focusing on the good in our lives, we can create a positive mindset that can carry us through the summer and beyond.

Ready to stay motivated this summer?

Stay on track while you enjoy the beautiful weather! Give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, check out our Question Banks and find the perfect fit for you! Or, contact us with any questions you have so we can get you on the right path today!

How to avoid maladaptive coping with Stress

stress isolation

Stress can lower our threshold for coping with daily inconveniences, and this can compound when we have bigger stressors we’re dealing with. There are times when you may feel overwhelmed with life. Being around people, sounds, and stimulation might tip you over the edge and you just want to curl up in the dark by yourself. It’s essential to maintain a healthy balance between spending time alone and socializing, especially when we’re stressed.

When we’re stressed, our instinct might be to retreat into solitude, which can be helpful in some cases. However, it’s crucial to pay attention to not isolate oneself entirely. Socialization can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health and help us manage stress. Further, prolonged isolation may deter our ability to adequately cope with our stressors.

Spending time with friends, family, and loved ones can provide emotional support and help us cope with difficult situations. Being around people we trust and who care about us can reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety. It can also boost our mood and increase our sense of happiness and well-being. Not only is it protective to our mental well-being, it can even influence our physical wellbeing!

However, it’s also essential to make time for solitude. Time alone can be valuable for self-reflection and personal growth. It allows us to recharge and can help us manage stress by giving us time to process our thoughts and feelings.
The key to maintaining a healthy balance between time alone and socializing is to pay attention to our needs and preferences. It’s okay to say no to social events if we need some alone time, but it’s also important to make an effort to connect with others regularly.

Curious what My Psych Board is all about?

Give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, check out our Question Banks and find the perfect fit for you! Or, contact us with any questions you have so we can get you on the right path today!

How To Build Good Habits

green vegetables indicating good eating habits

Developing good habits and implementing them into your daily routine is crucial for achieving success in all areas of your life. Habits are the small, repeated actions that we take each day that ultimately shape who we are and what we accomplish.
Good habits are essential because they help us make progress towards our goals, improve our health and well-being, and increase our overall productivity. By developing good habits, we can create a framework for success that allows us to achieve our desired outcomes consistently.

Forming habits

How to go about forming habits is the most difficult part. In order to start making positive changes and pushing yourself to create these small, repeated action, you must first identify what areas of your life you want improvement in. This requires some honest self-reflection. After you’ve identified your areas to work on, it helps to create a step-by-step plan for executing the changes.

For example, if you want to improve your health and fitness, establishing a habit of regular exercise and healthy eating is crucial. If you want to advance in your career, developing a habit of continuous learning and taking action towards your goals is necessary. If you want to improve your relationships, cultivating habits of active listening, showing appreciation, and communicating effectively can make all the difference.

Consequences of good habits

Implementing good habits into your daily routine requires commitment, consistency, and a bit of effort. However, the benefits of developing good habits are well worth the investment. By creating a routine that includes good habits, you can increase your productivity, reduce stress, and improve your overall quality of life. Moreover, the benefits of good habits extend beyond just achieving your desired outcomes. Developing good habits can also help you develop self-discipline, build self-confidence, and increase your sense of control over your life. By establishing good habits, you can create a solid foundation for long-term success and happiness.

In conclusion, developing good habits and implementing them into your daily routine is essential for achieving success in all areas of your life. Good habits are the building blocks of success, and they can help you create the life you desire. By committing to developing good habits, you can create a framework for success that will support you throughout your journey.

Ready to learn more?

Give our question banks a try- FREE- using our Free Trial! Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, check out our Question Banks and find the perfect fit for you! Or, contact us with any questions you have so we can get you on the right path today!

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!