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I wouldn’t write this blog unless I was in a stressful situation. I have quite a few things going on in my life so I thought I would share what I do to reduce the stress and become way more productive. Stress can cause all forms of problems, so reducing it is key to a happier and healthier life.
In grad school, you are going to experience moments of extremes stress. The end of the year, for example, is always a very stressful time. Creating good habits to manage that stress can allow you to be able to combat the stressful situation when the time comes. Today, I want to bring up the 16 different methods that I use to relieve stress during grad school.
If you are in grad school, lease take the time to invest in a great stress reliever. It will save you so much frustration and keep you going for the long haul. Trust me when I say, having one of these or all of these in your stress reduction tool belt is essential to survive nd thrive in academia. So, let us get into the list of stress relievers for grad school.
Here’s a list of things you can do to relieve grad school stress
1. Exercise at the gym.
This is my go to when it comes to relieving stress. Honestly, just working out with some loud music and heavy weights is the perfect way to put yourself in a great mood. It pumps up your endorphins and puts you in a fantastic mood. Get moving guys! I know you might not have time but you can always make time!
Meditation doesn’t have to be an hour long event. When you start feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed in grad school, take a 5 to 10 minute break and just breath. Stay off your phone unless you using a mediation app or YouTube meditation sessions. 10 minutes is all it takes and you will immediately see a difference. I do this quite often and it has helped manage the stress and my blood pressure lol.
3.Put on classical music or Lo-fi music
When you have a deadline to hit, you need to focus. Nothing beats the power of classical or Lo-fi music to help you out. I love Heavy Rain Lofi. Here is a link to YouTube where you can explore those channels. For some odd reason (probably backed by science), this music just keeps you calm and reduces stress a ton. Try it out and see if it works for you.
4.Drink less caffeine.
Here me out on this one. Yes, caffeine is amazing but it will drive up your anxiety like no other. The amount fo stress you will feel when caffeinated is way more than you would feel with little caffeine. I am not saying to completely cut it out of your diet. Well, if you can, that’s great. I am saying that in high stress times, try and limit the amount or be mindful of the amount that you are drinking. If you normally drink a cup or two of coffee, limit yourself to only that. Any more might cause your stress to sky rocket.
5. Read an article with something happy in it.
Sometimes when I am stressed, I get cranky. I look at life in a negative manner and don’t really see any joy. One weirrd way of reducing stress for me at least is to read an article with something joyful and happy. News articles are always so negative and being stressed at the same time can lead to a badddddd day/week. Try and read an article from a website like HappyNews.com.
6. Follow my breathe.
If you really don’t have enough time to meditate, just try following the breathe for a bit. It is a similar practice to meditation and will definitely calm you down. Take a deep breath in, hold it for 4 seconds, then slowly breath out. Do this a few time and you’ll be slightly less stressed than before. This works well with anxiety as well.
7. Remind yourself that “This too will pass”
Stressful times come and go. It is often very hard to know when the stress in grad school will pass. Just know that it will and remind yourself that it will pass. Stress is a temporary condition that will inevitably pass on it’s own or when something is complete. Remind yourself to hold off until then and this bad time will subside.
8. Watch the scene in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams and Matt Damon are at the park.
Kind of a weird thing but when I am stressed, I like to watch comforting scenes from movies. I like to completely remove myself from whatever situation I am in and feel comforted in something that is not grad school. I love the movie Good Will Hunting, so I watch scenes from the movie. This often really helps to ground me and not get overwhelmed with stressful thoughts.
9. Watch Good Will Hunting if I have the time lol
I know people that watch whole movies to reduce stress. They are so overwhelmed with things that it makes them freeze almost and they can’t do anything. If you can afford to, and not on a strict deadline, watch a movie. Stay off your phone and just immerse yourself in whatever movie it is. Of course, my go to is Good Will Hunting. Man, it’s just so good.
10. Remind yourself to look for the learning experience or the good that comes from the stressful situation.
Every stressful situation is a way to learn. Make the stressful situation a positive learning experience and you will see that the stress tends to be reduced. Look at all experiences that are difficult a way to learn a new skill or just learn how to manage stress or what methods work.
11.Call up someone to just talk to.
I find that friends and family are great stress outlets. Don’t do this all of the time though. It will help when you are not constantly going to them for stress relief. Call up a friend or relative and just explain to them that you’re stress and need either advice or just someone to talk to. For a brief moment in your life, focus on talking to them and removing yourself from the stress. If you are stuck on something, maybe they will have answers. If nothing else, at least you got to build a good relationship with them by staying in contact!
12. Go on frequent, short, walks
This is my all-time favorite thing to do when I am stressed. I walk so much that I found walking challenges to do just to encourage me to walk even more lol. I also like medals. If you want to know more about the walking challenges, here’s a link to that page. Anyway, going on walks is a magnificent way to reduce grad school stress. It is similar to exercising but you don’t have to push yourself too hard. You can even meditate while walking or focus on your breathe. Both of those things I do. Plus, you get your steps in lol.
Don’t have time to go on walks, meditate, breath, or anything else? Just do 10 pushups. Go ahead, do them in the office or lab. They are easy to do, you get more exercise, and you will notice that you won’t have time to be stressed while trying to focus on not dying lol. Push ups are a quick and easy way to just reduce a bit of stress that you might feel during the day. Try it out and see if it helps.
14. Get plenty of sleep
I think that most of the stress we feel comes from being overworked and overwhelmed with the ideas of work. This can often be amplified by sleep deprivation. Yes, you want to relax at night and watch TV. Next thing you know, it’s 12 am and you have to get to class in 8 hours. That leaves you with probably less than 8 hours of sleep. Get to bed earlier. Just try it for a few days and you will see that your stress gets reduced and you will work more efficiently. Instead of being at the lab until 9, you’ll get to leave at 6. There will be much less stress.
15. Cook Something or bake something
This one can be helpful and a bit dangerous. If you are so stressed, take the time to bake some comfort food. Make cookies, a cake, anything. Bring some for your lab mates too. They are stressed and need some love as well. Try and not do this all of the time. Many stressed people often resort to stress cooking and then stress eating. It is a vicious cycle that you don’t want to get stuck in. I added this because it is a great way to remove yourself from a stressful situation and relieve that grad school stress.
16. Stop Thinking, Start Doing
The hardest and most stressful part about anything is thinking about it and all of the work that needs to be done to get it finished. This can make things so stressful and even more so when you find out that you have less time to accomplish it because you spent all that time thinking about it. To tackle the stress, you must tackle the stressor. If you have a presentation to make, do it! Focus on getting it done and stop thinking about it. The quicker you finsih it, the less stressed you will be.
This was a pretty long list of things to relieve stress in grad school, but I know you can find something in there that will help you. Let me know what you do to reduce stress. I would love to add more to this list. As always, I hope you guys have an amazing and stress free day. I will see you all in the next one. Peace.
**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, I highly recommend that they seek help. Online-Therapy.com or TalkSpace.com are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.