Each choice you make during your time in Washington, D.C. could be the one that determines whether you sink or soar- from the everyday choices you make professionally, to the more mundane ones like choosing what you are going to eat for lunch. And while I could give you some advice about “how to make the best choices for a successful internship” (or something cliché like that), let me instead guide you towards making the right choices when it comes to your overall health and happiness. Because how you choose to treat your body can have a major impact on your present state of being, how well you perform at your job, and can ultimately contribute to how your overall D.C. experience plays out.
The saying “you are what you eat” is not just another one of your mother’s silly platitudes. What you consume can influence your appearance in a matter of hours, change your mood almost instantaneously, and can affect how well you perform during the day both physically and mentally. So, to set you up for success in D.C., try to eat as healthily as possible. While it is easiest to eat healthy by cooking your own food, I understand life in D.C. can get hectic. So, here are some of my favorite locations to get nutrient-rich meals on-the-go:
– Roti Modern Mediterranean
-Whole Foods (they have amazing self-serve salad and hot-bar stations)
– Zoës Kitchen
-True Food Kitchen
And if you work on the Hill, the Longworth and Rayburn Cafeterias have tons of delicious and mindful whole-food choices to take advantage of.
While eating nutritious foods is an essential part of living healthily, working out is also incredibly important. While interning in D.C., I highly encourage you to take advantage of the downstairs gym in the Buchanan. It does not have the widest array of exercise equipment, but it can get the job done. Plus, it’s just a short walk and an elevator ride away. If that gym just doesn’t suit your fancy though, there is a rock-climbing gym called Earth Treks just down the road, a gym called Crossfit South Arlington in the opposite direction, and several other gyms throughout Crystal City that you can use for free if you have the Crystal City Lights pass. This pass grants you access to all the Buchanan’s sister properties’ amenities. If the pass does not already come with the set of keys they give you when you first move into the Buchanan, you can always ask the front desk attendants to give you one free of charge. My favorite gym in the area though is in Crystal Towers, for it has most every piece of equipment you would need for resistance training or cardio alike. Regardless of which gym you go to, at least make an effort to exercise regularly. Your future self will thank you.
If you have never heard of the concept of mindfulness training before, it is essentially the practice of focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. As documented by numerous studies, mindfulness training has the potential to alleviate depressive symptoms, increase our ability to focus, improve our brain’s ability to regulate emotions, and has the potential to relieve chronic anxiety. While I consider myself a healthy person in general, the healthiest thing that I do for myself is practice mindfulness daily. For just 10 minutes a day, I sit in a comfortable chair and just pay attention to everything that comes my way- thoughts, sounds, bodily sensations, outside noises, etc. And as boring as that may sound, it has made an incredibly profound difference on my overall well-being, and, I think, has enabled me to be a more productive and capable employee while working on the Hill.
If you have no real idea on how to start your mindfulness training, some apps that I would recommend you checking out are:
– The Waking Up App (my personal favorite)
I sincerely hope your internship in D.C. proves to be fruitful, and I hope that you make the right choices for yourself- because no one will do it for you.
Office of Congressman John Carter
Washington, D.C. | fall 2019