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.

Blessed are the flexible…

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never be bent out of shape.”

I find myself blogging again on Sunday night/Monday morning, probably because this is the only quiet time I seem to find in my week. The time is currently 2:05am and I just finished up a paper for my Strategic Management of Human Assets class taught by Steffanie Wilk (who won Fisher College’s graduate teaching award last year). I have some pretty good classes this quarter, but I’d have to say that this one is my favorite (love the HR/OB stuff). It approaches personnel and human resource management issues and challenges from the general manager’s perspective. It’s really helped to build on my experiences working in talent management this summer with Deutsche Post DHL.

Another favorite this quarter is The Business of College Sports, taught by our Athletic Director and his wife, Gene and Sheila Smith. Out of the several dozen speakers I saw last year through the MBA program, Gene Smith was BY FAR the best speaker that I had the pleasure of listening too. He’s one of the most powerful men on the Ohio State campus, yet he’s incredibly down-to-earth and his leadership qualities are exemplary. After hearing him speak at a Black MBA speaker series last year, I knew I had to take his class.

Come to think of it, all my classes are great this quarter. I just wish I had more time to devote to them. Last year I was usually a week ahead with assignments and readings, and always made sure I had the time to turn in perfect project deliverables. This quarter I’m usually preparing the day before class (which is still better than nothing right?). Teaching my undergraduate class, being in charge of Fisher College’s graduate student government and trying to find a job has really taken a large chunk out of my schedule. It’s times like this that I’m glad I have my yoga practice to keep me sane.

Making the transition from competitive powerlifter to yoga student around five years ago, I found tools to better my body, breath and mind. I feel very fortunate for picking it up at an early age, as opposed to later in life after an injury as many others do. What I like the most about yoga in terms of my personal practice is that it helps me navigate the busy corporate world. Yoga is much more than doing stretches on a mat. It is a comprehensive tool kit of values, postures, breath work and meditation that allows one to strip away impurities, insecurities, limiting beliefs and other obstacles to happiness. Some of these yogic values include: kindness, truth, moderation, cleanliness, contentment and self-study. No matter who you are or what you believe in, these are all principles that are beneficial for finding sustained joy.

Even working my 60-80 hours a week, I find myself blissfully at ease throughout the week. And if something goes terribly wrong, I know that life is inherently good and it’s really not a big deal in the long run.  I couldn’t imagine my life without yoga. I use breathing exercises to calm down before interviews and presentations, mantras and readings to help keep me present, and mat exercises to keep my posture from totally breaking down from the endless hours in front of my laptop.

This quarter I’m not going to be able to teach as much as I’d like to, but I’ll be teaching for sure on October 25th and November 22nd at the RPAC in Multipurpose Room #5 at 10:30am-12:00pm (both are Sundays). It’s free through the Ohio State Yoga Club, so come give it a try if you’re interested.

In closing, the following is one of my favorite Chinese proverbs about the importance of health:
Represent Fame, Fortune, Family, and Friends by the numeral zero. Represent Health by the number “1”. If you have the “1” and put it first, every added zero will increase your wealth. Without the “1” first, you have nothing!


Mike ^_^

A few laughs and time for yourself

As I logged in this morning to provide my weekly dose of “Fisher Life”, I started reading some of the other blogs. It’s really cool to see the perspective of other students who have never been at OSU until this year. I, however, have been on the OSU campus my entire life, I’ve worked here since I was in eighth grade (woot woot, summer job!) and I’ve been going to football games since I was 8. My mom is faculty in the Animal Sciences department and between my parents, my sister and myself, there are currently 7 degrees from The Ohio State University and currently the 8th is in progress. I guess the funny part comes from reading posts and imagining that their thoughts are how I reacted when I first saw OSU and the first time I went to an Ohio State game. I’ve befriended a girl who is each of my classes, Xing Xing, also known as Elle – like the magazine (that’s what she says each time someone asks her name). It’s been a lot of fun talking to her because the things that I pass off as every day common occurrences are things that she otherwise would never have encountered. I suppose even though I’m an old vet at this OSU thing, it’s still fun to get to explain everything and see it all for the first time through another person’s eyes.

I definitely recommend reading the other posts. There are quite a few laughs in there and they’re sure to brighten anyone’s day. Especially the post about Tommy’s Pizza by Shay Merritte.

Amanda’s Tip of the Week:

Take time for yourself. Having class three days a week, each class 4 hours and each having about 100 pages worth of reading each week can be overwhelming. I’m taking a yoga class every Tuesday for two hours and it is one of the most relaxing things I could do. Yesterday in class, our teacher Shannon Titus, had us do her ‘word-call-out’ where we say how we’re feeling. The majority of my classmates, including myself, said either tired or stressed, and I’m the only grad student. It’s only the third week and we’re already feeling this way. So, take some time to yourself. Make sure after you get home and before you start studying or even before you go to bed that you take time to unwind from the day and make time for yourself. Otherwise you’re going to go crazy and stress out even more.

Happy Wednesday!