Self-Care & Social Justice with Avni Dalal

4 minute read.
You work long hours caring for others and running your business. So who's caring for you? And more importantly, what are you doing to care for yourself? Well, today we're exploring practitioner self-care: what are your peers doing to ensure they can bring their best every day.

Our college days are supposed to be some of the most carefree of our lives. But over the last two years with the Covid epidemic, students have been isolated and under stress like never before. We checked in with Avni Dalal, a new graduate from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, to find out how she dealt with the pressure of her graduating year at SCNM. What follows are some really great self-care tips from a person who's clearly engaged with her new life, committed to the struggle for social justice and passionate about her future role as a naturopathic practitioner.

Key Takeaways

  1. The New Graduate I'm a newly graduated naturopathic medical student. I have Indian heritage and have a lot of homeopathic practitioners in my family. I took some time off after graduation from my undergrad career and I was feeling pretty lost. I was feeling very discouraged with our modern health care system. So after a little bit of research, I came across naturopathic medicine and I fell in love immediately.
  2. Naturopaths Without Borders Global health has been a huge part of my life, even before I came into naturopathic medical school. My parents were highly involved with a charity organization that runs schools and clinics in India. Then I did a medical internship in Costa Rica. So I always knew that caring for people that are less served, especially due to different socio-economic issues, was an issue that I wanted to jump into. So Naturopaths Without Borders was one of the important factors behind my decision to attend Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine because of its proximity to Mexico. It's been my fuel. It's been my passion.
  3. Life In Lockdown Honestly, it's something that I'm still learning to manage - and something that I am learning from every day. The last couple of years have been extra hard for many of us in the United States, as many of us have seen on the news. There was a lot beyond just COVID and the pandemic; there was a lot of social injustice that was happening and that was brought to the forefront. So taking on the gravity of these situations was difficult, to say the least. And there were, especially in the beginning, a lot of really bad mental health days. I'm sure people can relate that we all have our good days and bad days.
  4. White Coats For Black Lives Many of us were feeling that beyond social injustice, there is medical injustice. It often goes hand in hand. There are biases that as practitioners and student practitioners we must address. Southwest College is the only naturopathic medical school to have our own White Coats For Black Lives chapter, so that was where it all started.

    It's been a slow process, you know, changing policy, changing up education, changing up our course material. It's slow. We were all students that were doing this. So there's always balancing that on top of our course load and then trying to fight for social justice because I tell you, it's quite challenging.
  5. Self-Care My best day actually starts the night before. I find that when I take time to give myself an hour away from social media, an hour away from the news, and instead doing meditation or a yoga sequence can really, really help. I find that when I do something like that, it sets me up for restful sleep. When I sleep well and I practice good sleep hygiene, I find that in the morning I awake with a better outlook.
  6. Get Creative! Another thing that I really found helpful is finding a creative outlet. Being in STEM, the science, technology, engineering and math field, since high school I’ve found that my creativity was definitely dampened. It is not something that is encouraged or that I really had a lot of time for. But I started getting into painting recently and it's been a way for me to do something beyond medicine and taking care of people. It’s been really helpful for me.
  7. Diet & Nutrition Unlike the common stereotype of college students eating pizza and ramen noodles, I was just the opposite! At a naturopathic medical school, there's a lot of food judgment going on. Like “Oh, you're eating a donut? I only eat salads every day”. I had to teach myself to just follow my intuition of what feels good and works for me.

    There are so many factors that go into our access to food and our ability to cook and make fresh food with beautiful, nutritious ingredients. I don't have time for that every day. So I have just been a little bit more intuitive with my eating. There are times when I will meal prep and then there are times where I'm sick of eating my quinoa with the sweet potatoes and the broccoli and all that. And then I will eat a pizza slice and I'll eat the fried chicken sandwich if I want to eat it.
  8. Music! I love music! I don't play any instruments, although I used to play the clarinet in high school. But I really love just discovering new music. I get really organized about my playlists on Spotify, depending on the mood that I'm in. I just love discovering new artists and listening to their albums from beginning to end and. And then there’s also dancing along with music. I think that just letting loose is a really powerful self-care tip too.

    Check out some of Avni’s Spotify playlists:
    Rainy Morning Muse
    Beachy Daze
    Picnic At The Park


The opinions expressed in this Nutramedica program are those of the guests and contributors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Nutritional Fundamentals For Health Inc.

This video is intended for licensed or registered health professionals and students of health professions only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information contained in these programs are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.