Stress and challenges are a part of every dietetic internship but completing the internship during a pandemic can lead to a myriad of other issues you might not have expected. Here are five tricks I use to keep myself seeing the glass half-full — hopefully they work for you pandemic or no pandemic.
- Focus on the Positive: We experience days where everything seems to be going wrong or feels beyond our control. Before you completely stress out, step back from the situation and take a break. Breathe, clear your brain, relax, and reset. Take a moment to re-examine the situation and identify a positive outcome, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
- Laughter is the Best Medicine: Studies have found that laughter decreases anxiety, depression and stress and lightens your overall mood. Notice the physical and mental symptoms when you feel the most negative. Are your shoulders tight, lips pursed, brain fogged? Now, force yourself to laugh, even if you don’t feel it. Chances are you will not only feel better, but you will replace some of that negativity with positive energy.
- Gratitude: Showing gratitude towards others is a simple and easy way to boost positivity into your life. Start your day off by naming three things you are grateful for and show gratitude for each. Take a moment to say thank you to a fellow intern or preceptor who helped in some way, or to someone who may not be thanked very often.
- Daily Affirmations: Most of us have learned about motivational interviewing and the benefit of affirmations. We are our own worst critics, and our negative talk can often negatively affect the people around us. The next time you hear yourself saying “I’m never going to get this right,” try “I will get this right, let me try again.”
- Celebrate the Small Victories: I tend to focus on the end game and forget the moments that got me there in the first place. Remember to acknowledge your accomplishments as you achieve them, both big and small. Celebrate your successes instead of minimizing them.