How to Manage Grad School Stress

It’s vital you learn to manage your stress in graduate school or else you will either burnout or you will have a meltdown.

Take the initiative to schedule down time for yourself.  Try to schedule one day a week where you can completely take off from all school related activities.  This is the only way to keep your sanity.  If you don’t schedule time off, it won’t happen.  You need time to relax or else you will exhaust yourself.  In addition, taking a break from projects will actually be refreshing.  It generally leads to creative breakthroughs!  So go ahead and spend all Sunday morning watching reality TV.  It’s good to do something mindless once in a while.

To balance stress levels, do not forgo a healthy diet or exercise.  It can be difficult to fit in gym time when you’re busy but you can find ways to make it work.  For example, take your textbook or journal articles with you to read while you ride the bike at the gym.  And while fast food and frozen meals are quick and cheap, try to avoid eating this stuff more than a couple times a week.  You’ll stay better focused if you eat fresh food and drink plenty of water.

One of the best ways to avoid stress is to stay organized.  Spending ten minutes before you go to bed each night to organize your priorities and goals for the next day can make a huge difference.  Have checklists for the day, the week, the month, the quarter, and the year.  It really will help you to see the overall picture as well as the day to day.  It’s easy to say, “Just stay on top of everything,” but if you make a concerted effort to keep a routine, you will find it fairly manageable to stay on top of it all.

Socializing is also an important way to de-stress but it can also be an opportunity for you develop professionally.  In addition to classes and extra-curricular activities, online social networking groups such as LinkedIn and Meetup offer great ways to interact socially and professionally with different groups in the region. Some sites for consideration: ActiveDayton.com, Meetup.com, Dayton.com, metroparks.org, 10best.com.

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