Completing a dietetic internship is a physically and mentally demanding part of becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist. Add to that parenthood and maintaining relationships, and the whole experience can feel impossible.
Having experienced it, here are a few tips that have helped me manage it:
- Be mentally present. Limit overthinking — it only wastes time and creates stress. Instead, focus on current tasks and stick to your planned schedule. This prevents work from interfering with quality family and friend time.
- Get organized. Whether it’s assignments, after-school activities or grocery shopping, staying organized is critical for meeting deadlines.
- Treat yourself. Reserve time weekly to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s taking a bath, doing yoga or reading a book, relaxing helps you be more physically and mentally available at both your internship and home.
- Communicate your demanding schedule. Explain that some role reversal will be needed temporarily. For example, someone else might need to do house chores, run errands and be there for child pick-up.
- Limit perfectionism. Concentrate on learning as much as you can while still getting enough sleep and regular nutritious meals. As we know, staying healthy and preventing unwanted leave during the internship is vital to finishing on time.
- Learn to say “no.” Know your limits and say no when you’re stretching yourself thin. This is the best practice for self-care. During the internship, it’s enough to meet your day-to-day school and family responsibilities.
- Accept help. Loved ones, at some point, will want to help you out. Let them. Something as simple as help with babysitting or shoveling snow can make a big difference.
Remember that this is temporary, so enjoy the process no matter how challenging it is!