Sarah Rav: Doctor and social media star
The Doctor and the Social Media Star
Dr Sarah Rav | Monash Life | Thriving communities | 5 minute read
With social media audience of 2.5 million, Monash alumna Dr Sarah Rav knows what it takes to share a message.
An early adopter of both Instagram and TikTok, Sarah’s documentation of her journey towards wellness and success as a young medical student and professional captivated her followers, and empowered her to find her voice in the process.
Sarah realised the potential of Instagram long before the word ‘influencer’ was part of our everyday vocabulary. While studying medicine at Monash, she began sharing her insights into health, wellbeing, nutrition and productivity with a steadily growing hive of followers.
As businesses recognised the potential of brand collaborations and social media stars started raking in big money, Sarah’s attention remained focused on making a difference to the lives of her audience.
"Social media has always been a way for me to help others on a much bigger platform than just sharing my knowledge face-to-face,” she said.
“From the very start, it’s been about giving insights into the things that I’m passionate about in a way that other people can use."
Living honestly online
Sarah’s advocacy for health and wellbeing comes from her own hard-won wisdom about the importance of self-care, with her fight to overcome an eating disorder translating into an informed rethinking of the way she positions herself online.
At a time when Instagram feeds were full of picture perfect images of people living their best lives, Sarah adopted a ground breaking policy of transparency, speaking openly about her anorexia diagnosis and the steps she was taking to manage her recovery.
“There's a huge body positive movement today, but when I was experiencing and starting to come to grips with my eating disorder, nobody was doing that," she reflected.
If I’d seen people being honest about what it’s like to live with and survive an eating disorder, it could have completely changed my experience."
“I felt like I owed my followers an explanation for why I'd been noticeably losing weight, so I was pretty open about why I went from posting fitness tips to posting about mental health and wellbeing in a much more holistic sense."
Keeping momentum during COVID-19
For Sarah, this reinvigorated approach to the meaning of health and happiness spurred her academic success during the most challenging years of the pandemic. During this time, the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences focused on keeping medicine students in placements.
“You can only learn so much from textbooks – they can’t actually teach you how to see a patient or approach an issue in emotional circumstances,” Sarah explained. “Being able to maintain consistent placements meant I could develop into the kind of practitioner I am today.”
Shaping a new future in health
Sarah graduated with a Doctor of Medicine in 2021, and is now engaged in an internship and residency program at Eastern Health.
"If I hadn’t looked after my health, I wouldn’t be anywhere as successful as I am now,” she said.
Too many people don’t tie success to health and wellbeing - they don't realise how looking after yourself increases your ability to thrive in other areas of life."
As she moves through her medical rotations, Sarah’s starting to think about what her future in medicine might look like, and how she can combine her skills to make the biggest impact.
“When I started studying medicine, I thought I’d dedicate my entire life to being in a hospital and being a surgeon. But now that I've got TikTok as a platform, I’ve realised that I really like teaching and like speaking to the younger generation.
I would still love to be in general medicine, but I'm also thinking about how I can combine clinical practice with a public forum.”
Considering the resonance of her social media activity, it’s clear that Sarah’s vision of a multi-faceted career is well within reach. Her daily life is peppered with interactions with those who benefit from her social media presence, both online and - surprisingly often - in person.
“I get comments from people I meet on the street who recognise me from my Instagram or TikTok, and sometimes they tell me the most wonderful things. I’ve had people say that my tips helped them get into law, or helped them make it through their medicine degree.
“It’s surreal when these moments happen, but to think that I can make a difference keeps me creative and motivated. My mind is always running at a million miles an hour, thinking about what I’m going to make next.”
Sarah’s top three tips for productivity
From embracing the power of lists to rejecting the urge to multi-task, social media’s productivity queen shares her secrets for getting the most out of each day.
Make lists your friend
Few things are better for productivity than planning out how you’re going to fill your day, either the night before or first thing in the morning.
You’d be amazed at how useful your Notes app on your mobile phone can be. In my Notes, I have a checklist of everything I need to do, from working out before work, to eating breakfast, to driving to work, and everything that follows. It gives me a much better idea of how much I can get done in a day.
Embrace meal prep
Meal prep is another big must when it comes to health and wellbeing, especially if you work hours where it's hard to get home and cook dinner.
I don’t just mean the usual boring chicken and rice routine, either. There are so many different ways to meal prep to suit your diet, preferences and cravings.
It can also be as simple or as comprehensive as you want. While I usually go all out, sometimes my meal prep is as quick as making a massive bunch of kale on Sunday night.
Every day during the week, I might get takeaway, but I’ll add in a whack of kale and it’s suddenly much more balanced.
Don't believe the multi-tasking hype
We’ve all tried to work while simultaneously watching TV and doing laundry. I promise you, you’re not going to be as efficient as when you dedicate a set amount of time to do a single task.
Multi-tasking not only takes longer, but at the end of the day you'll be more exhausted because your brain has had to work so hard trying to switch focus.
Streamlining your attention takes practice, but it’s worth it. For example, don't answer your emails while you're trying to work. Do the work. Don't think about anything else and then answer your email in the time you’ve dedicated to that task.
When you tackle one task at a time, you’re going to end your day with a store of energy because you haven’t been spreading yourself thin and splitting your attention.