It is with great pleasure, and a slight bit of trepidation (I’m not used to writing about myself!), that I start off this series of blog posts about wellness. In the coming weeks, you will hear from my colleagues on the OMSA Wellness Committee - a group of driven individuals who are passionate about the self-care and balance in medical students - about their views on wellness.
As a student at McMaster, trust me when I say that the faculty takes every, and I mean EVERY, opportunity to celebrate their innovative method of teaching: problem based learning. It entails tackling a given problem with a question. What information do we need to solve this problem? What are we curious about? Given the broadness of a topic like wellness, I reflexively ran through a mental list of my objectives:
What is wellness?
How do I keep myself well?
What is wellness to me?
To answer the first question, I went to Google. The World Health Organization defines wellness as “...a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely in the absence of disease or infirmary.” Now, how can one achieve this state? There are many things one can do to keep themselves well. However, just as cooking isn’t solely about throwing together a bunch of ingredients, wellness isn’t simply about doing activities that are said to help you create a physical, mental and social balance. In order for the relationships you build and the activities you engage in to keep you well, I believe the key is in one’s mindset. The mindset that ensures my wellness is striving to be a better version of myself than I was yesterday.
Every day, I endeavour to build on one or multiple facets of my life. I try to learn a little more about human physiology in order to become a better doctor. I do a few extra repetitions of an exercise to get a little stronger. Sometimes, I try a new recipe with new spices. Or I may pull out an old favourite recipe and change it up. Perhaps I make a new friend. Some days, I rekindle an old friendship. I may call home because I haven’t checked in for a few days. I might look into planning a trip to Europe in the summer to travel and see the world.
It’s true these changes are not particularly noticeable from day to day. They’re little things. But the days becomes weeks, and the weeks become months; and every little thing builds up and takes me steps closer to becoming the best version of me. Each day, I work to build stronger relationships, try new activities, and learn different things. Wellness, for me, is appreciating the opportunities we are lucky enough to have and using them to grow and impact the people around us, and just maybe make the world a little brighter than it was yesterday.