Balancing my life has required much trial-and-error. I have seasons where I don’t take care of myself and become so busy to the point where my diseases begin to flare up. On the other hand, I have seasons where I take things at a slower pace and make time for myself and the things I love to do. Through both seasons, I have had to learn to give and take and learn what my top priorities are. Because I have a chronic illness, I am at a disadvantage when life becomes too chaotic. Sometimes my body forces me to slow down and take time for self-care, and this is when I know I need to change my priorities and remember that living isn’t a to-do list, but rather an experience of fullness and joyfulness.
Two of the creative outlets I use to stay grounded and rejuvenated through chaotic seasons are writing and photography. Writing helps me to stay aware of my emotions and spiritual life. I write to express myself. It’s a type of therapy, really. Taking photographs is a way for me to capture moments in times when I feel the happiest. I know moments are fleeting, and because I have experienced many losses of loved ones in my life, I have learned to soak in and capture every moment. When I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed with life, I can look back on the photographs or videos that I take and remember how I was feeling in that moment.
In the midst of chaos, this helps me realize that beautiful moments have existed before and will again. It helps me redirect my focus onto all the positives the future may hold, rather than focusing on the negative.
With all that being said, writing and photography have become a passion of mine, allowing me to express who I am and what I have learned about the world around me. Through my busy schedule of working in the medical field, studying for the MCAT, taking ASU classes, church, time with family and friends, and self-care time, I make writing and photography a priority. If I don’t keep all portions of my life balanced, I become ungrounded. When that happens, my focus isn’t great and I lack motivation. My academic career is very important to me and I want to succeed, but I also know that making time for the things that I love doing for myself and others is what brings beauty, meaning, and purpose to my life. The accomplishment of school is great and will lead me to my future career as a doctor, but writing for those who are suffering or feel alone in their journey helps me feel fulfilled.
There will be days when it feels like I don’t have time to myself, but because it is a priority to me, I will always make time. What I learned when I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and had to drop everything to be a full-time patient was that there is nothing more important than the health of your mind, body, and spirit. One cannot bring healing to others’ lives without bringing healing to one’s own life. A patient won’t want a doctor who is stressed, agitated, or not grounded in their mental or emotional stability. A patient will want a doctor who is balanced and able to give them their full attention and compassion. As a future doctor, I am learning how to take care of myself better now so that I can be the best doctor for my patients later.