Posts Tagged 'sleep'

Five Tips for Stress Management

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.


Tips for Surviving Midterm Exam Week

If you are like most graduate students, you dread midterm exam week.  Personally, I cannot think of one person I know who actually likes taking exams or gets really excited about studying for long periods of time.  I can usually handle the “spaced” out exams where I have one exam per week.  The real challenge comes when you are forced to have to study for 2-3 exams in the same week and it almost turns into a game of Russian Roulette deciding which exam you are going to study for.

However, despite all the horror stories that are in circulation, it is possible to survive midterm exam week and move on with your life. Here is a list of things to consider as your exam week approaches as well as things to do during your exam week:

1.  PREPARATION.  What is that, you ask?  Simple.  Start sooner rather than later, my fellow graduate students.  Trust me, I am the KING of procrastination.  But when it comes to exams, I don’t mess around.

2.  Find some study buddies.  This is always helpful especially when the material is hard to comprehend or difficult to understand.  People like helping other people.  You would be amazed what can be accomplished when you stick 3-4 heads together.

3.  TAKE BREAKS.  Get out from underneath your study rock and get some fresh air.  Hit the gym for an hour…go for a walk…watch an episode of House Hunters International (or three).  The point here is to just go do something “other” than studying.  Trust me, your brain needs a break.  My break during midterm exam week:  writing my blog.

4.  SLEEP.  I’ve made this mistake before.  And so have you.  Everyone has done it at least once.  It’s called the “all-nighter”.  This can be completely counterproductive to your study efforts.  Try as much as possible to keep your normal sleep routine.  Sacrificing 4 more hours of study time just isn’t worth it in the long run.

and

5.  REWARD YOURSELF.  You earned it.  Go treat yourself to some ice cream.  Maybe you’ll finally take a trip to your favorite restaurant with some friends.  It doesn’t matter “what” you do.  What matters is that your DO SOMETHING.  Get in the habit of rewarding yourself for a job well done.

Good luck!


Don’t get sick now!

Last week, all the work and lack of sleep finally took their toll on me. After more than a year in the United States, I got sick for the first time. It was a good run, which unfortunately had to end.

Note to self: A flu shot is not an end-all for all diseases. You could get a cold – and that was exactly what I got. Being sick is just a hassle – piling up my to-do list even higher because I need to get better. I had to spend the entire Thursday in bed to try to get at least a little better. I think I got sick because of lack of sleep.

We still do need sleep. Although we do have a responsibility to do well in school and in our other activities, we also have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. I may have forgotten that for a bit – sleeping for only about 4 hours per night for quite a while. And for someone who cannot function well without sleep, that is saying something. Case in point: today, I was frantically looking for my phone WHILE I was using it. A new low, even for me. A similar thing happened to me last year, which I explained in my EPI speech. See post here.

I’ll try to have at least a “lazy day” per week, although it might be hard now that there is only two weeks for finals (!). This means deadlines are breathing down are necks again. The good news, the break will be here soon. And I can’t wait for snow! :)



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