Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Stress is a Choice

Hi. I am Caroline. I am in graduate school. I am one week away from being halfway through with my program. 
In the past week, I have: 

  • cried
  • laughed
  • had little sleep
  • gone to my personal training session
  • eaten a whole bag of peanut butter m&ms
  • temporarily logged out of Facebook until papers are turned in
  • been to a Zumba class
  • baked and eaten a batch of cookies
  • stared mindlessly at my paper trying to figure out which angle I want to take
  • typed a total of about 36 pages worth of research papers
  • procrastinated by blogging and grocery shopping (don't judge, I know I sound like an old woman here!) 

Can any of you relate? 

Stress during finals, midterms, term papers  can be detrimental to our physical, mental, and emotional health. 
For our none student readers, what about holidays at work, overtime hours, bereavements, traumas, performance evaluations, getting married, having a baby, moving to a new city, etc. The list of stressors is endless! 

What we do to respond to and fight this stress says a lot about our work ethic, will power, and overall determination.

For me, fitness and journaling are my outlets. Now, granted, I am not a fitness expert or even super fit. But the older I get, the more I realize how fitness and a healthy lifestyle are crucial to a well-rounded life, not to mention how it helps me fight off stress. (Yes, I felt so guilty about that bag of m&ms the next day.) 

Did you know: 
According to Prevention.com, "Aerobic exercise of any kind has the power to calm jangled nerves and improve bad moods. And when it's done every day, it can enhance self-esteem and combat depression. Indeed, research has shown that a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk can have the same calming effect as a mild tranquilizer."

So many times we give the excuse, "I just don't have time." But my question to you is, "What are you going to do with your 24 hours? "

Today, I woke up to an email that said something along these lines: 
"We realize our expectations for you were slightly unattainable. So, we've cancelled your last discussion, cancelled your final exam, and moved the deadline of your term paper back a week." 

To say that I was happy to wake up to this is an understatement. I had to celebrate! I had been sweating over these term papers for the last 4 days. 

Know what I did? I went for a run. Yepp. I laced up my favorite pink & purple running shoes, turned on my NikeRun app (for the first time this year), put my dog's running halter on her, and took off! 

Literally, I've never felt so great. It was a beautiful morning at 67 degrees with the sun shining high in the sky. There is nothing better than this. 

What are you doing to take care of yourself today? 
Walk your dog. Walk around the mall. Go to a Zumba or yoga class. It's not about losing weight or even breaking a sweat at this point. This is about you and your sanity. 
What are YOU going to CHOOSE to do? 
You can't always control the stressors in your life, but you can control how that stress affects you. 

Be empowered to take care of YOU today! 

(Now back to my other term papers, whose deadline did not get pushed back a week!)


Looking for other posts on self-care whether in the field or as a student? Check out these posts!