Are you stressed out, overworked and underpaid? Of course you are, you are a dietetic intern! No worries! We have some excellent free mindfulness resources to help quell any stress coming your way.
Preparing for the registered dietitian exam, or any standardized exam can suddenly throw a wrench into an already packed schedule. How do you fit in studying for an exam while finishing grad school, raising a family, moving, or working full time? It requires dedicated time and a lot of mental focus.
While you’re processing a lot of information during the studying phase of your exam prep, it is important to prepare your mind in other ways. So many future dietitians focus on the knowledge and application needed for the exam may forget the mental health preparation that it takes to walk into a test taking center feeling centered and confident.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of one’s bodily feelings and sensations. Mindfulness requires the same mental exercises as studying does, but only takes a few minutes each day. Whether it’s breath work, guided imagery, meditation, prayer, yoga, or listening to music or poetry while disconnecting (from the workplace, social media, family) you need to unplug. These simple mind and body exercises can help you harness the mental energy you need to get through this next phase and onto becoming a Registered Dietitian. And bonus…it may help lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, and help with sleep, according to various studies conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
So how do you practice mindfulness while studying? I recommend using mindfulness apps and websites. Using apps allow you to practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime, so you can give your brain and body the much needed decompression that it deserves. Are you feeling stress bubble up and only have three to five minutes? I’ve got you!
Lauren and I hear from students all the time that they have test taking anxiety and feel stressed about studying for the RD Exam. Here are three free resources that we recommend to our learning community.
3 Free Mindfulness Resources We Love!
Insight Timer– A personal favorite. I love this app because it’s free, comprehensive, and has over 100,000 guided meditations, sound healing, yoga classes, poetry, and prayers. With over 100,000 free meditations, this app offers mindful sessions anywhere from two to five to 60 minutes, which is helpful for me because I may only have five or ten minutes to decompress after lunch and before my next meeting. Some days I only have two minutes and they have short breath exercises for that too!
Insight timer offers meditation music and a meditation timer that allows you to meditate with your choice of background music and bells to begin and end your practice. I found this app years ago when I was working with stressed dietetic interns and I’ve been recommending it to everyone since!
Simple habit offers a free version of its app that allows users to pick interests based on their specific needs. You can choose from topics like “relieve anxiety, sleep better, reduce stress, and increase focus” The app asks a few questions and creates a program to fit your needs. The app offers an “on the go” section for the person who needs to select a short session for a specific moment in time- like mentally preparing to give a big presentation or taking an exam!
This simple website offers guided meditations, guided imagery, and positive affirmations in both English and Spanish. I have been using the “guided meditations to relieve stress” by Belleruth Naparstek when I’m taking a break from sitting at my desk all day, and it makes all the difference. Naparstek makes a really good point that for some “positive affirmations are more effective than guided meditations.” If a seated meditation is hard for you, or you are finding that you can’t focus, try a walking meditation or guided imagery, it might be just what the doctor ordered!
Warning! The only time you need to avoid practicing meditation is while you are driving a car or operating machinery because you might get too relaxed and become unaware of your environment!
I hope these 3 free mindfulness resources help you like they have helped me and so many others on their dietetics journey.