Let’s face it, being in graduate school is pretty stressful. As my former roommate said, “I always feel like I should be doing something, even if I’ve completed all of my assignments.” This is one of the truest statements you’ll ever hear about graduate school. The constant feeling that something, somewhere needs to get done can get really stressful and fast. Here are some things I’ve found are helpful in managing stress:
1. Yoga- Everything you’ve heard about yoga is true. It’s so relaxing. I try to make time for 45 minutes to 1 hour of yoga every Sunday. There are classes at the RPAC (both for class credit and not-for-class credit) if you’re just starting and there are studios on W. Lane and High Street (Short North). Most places offer 1-2 free classes if you want to try it out before purchasing multiple classes.
2. Make time to sleep- It’s so easy to stay up reading or trying to edit those last few PowerPoint slides before the presentation in the morning. But sleep is really important when it comes to stress management. Sleep is the best way to “recharge”, so try to make the time. I’ve found my new motto to be “if it’s not due this week, then try not to worry about it.” This has come back to bite me only a few times, so for the most part it works. It certainly helps put things into perspective.
3. Have a week day schedule- It doesn’t have to be the same thing everyday, but think about what you need to accomplish everyday and manage time accordingly. If you do this either the night before or even the morning of, you’ll find you’re not stressing all day about when you’re going to have time to do all these things. It also keeps you on track, so you don’t start doing something that doesn’t need to be done.
4. Take time out for yourself- I allow myself between 30 mins to 1 hour per day to do what I want in terms of relaxing. That may mean watching Top Chef right after class, working out, even painting my nails (yes, I have to plan time to paint my own nails…. sad, but true), etc. During this time, I don’t allow myself to think of all the things that need doing or about what I really could be doing instead of figuring out who I want to leave on Top Chef.
5. Exercise! – After about a year long hiatus, I finally got motivated (with the help of one of my best friends) to start working out again on a regular basis. People in the health-care field, parents, friends, etc. who work out always talk about what a great stress reliever exercise is and now I can give you confirmation that this is true. I feel great after running on the treadmill for an hour. Unfortunately, I can’t workout everyday, but three times a week seems to work for me. It has definitely helped with the stress, especially because I can talk to my friend about whatever is going on and vice versa. Gym time has turned into exercise/therapy time, which is even better 🙂
When you’re constantly stressed, you are more likely to get sick, have physical pain throughout your body, eat more, etc. In order to stay happy and healthy it’s important to manage stress.