Prioritizing our health helps us live longer and feel happier. It gives us energy and vitality. Even more, it makes us better at what we do—better learners, better performers, better parents, and better leaders.
But with busy schedules at work and at home, it often feels challenging to prioritize our health. Even when we try to make healthier choices, the information we read can be conflicting and overwhelming.
Often, we don’t know where to start. Or how to start.
As a physician, wife, and mother, I have often struggled to prioritize my health. During a hard season of my training, I created an evidenced-based tool to help me prioritize my health. I call it the SMILE Score.
How does it work?
The SMILE Score is a daily check-in tool. Take a minute each day & ask yourself the following questions:
S - Sleep enough. Did I rest today for at least 7 hours? Was my sleep restorative?
M - Move my body. Did I exercise today, for at least 30 minutes?
I - Inhale. Exhale. Did I meditate, practice mindfulness, or find other ways to de-stress today?
L - Love and connect: Did I meaningfully interact with another person today?
E - Eat to nourish. Did I choose mostly non-processed, plant-based foods today?
Each letter (S, M, I, L, E) represents one daily habit important for mental and/or physical health. Each letter counts as one point.
The daily score ranges from 0 to 5. If your score is low, this tool provides a gentle reminder to help you get back on track, and provides guidance to help you.
To learn more about creating healthy habits, click here.
Medical Student &
I love this so much and use it a lot! I shared it with my fellow medical school friends as we start Step 1 studying. Thank you for your creativity
and positive light.
Spiritual Care Practitioner,
Psychotherapist, & Patient
It is a great tool for those in the midst of rigorous training and professional caregiving. A reminder that you matter, that your resilience and health matters - not only to you and your families, but to your patient as well.
Jeanne Rosner, MD
Physician, Educator, and
This mnemonic is spot on. It should be shared throughout the medical community.
Since I learned about it,
I use it every day
and I am teaching it to
all my students.
Shanika Es, MD
This is such an important reminder and checklist for anyone in healthcare at any stage in their career. Love your perspective and thanks for sharing!