Happy Wednesday Folks! Today is the first post in my Wednesday Wellness Series! These posts will feature content related to helping you maintain your sanity, especially in graduate school!
LIFE HACKS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
- CONNECT WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
Perhaps one of the best things about starting graduate school is having the opportunity to surround yourself with people who are just as passionate about your field as you are. Like-minded people help to encourage, motivate, and even challenge you to do things that you may have previously thought were impossible. Surrounding yourself with people who share your same interests helps to build and maintain positive and professional networks, in addition to bringing great benefits and rewards.
- KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO
Graduate school is stressful! There is no doubt about this! Knowing your own limits and knowing when to say “no” will save you a lot of anxiety, worry, and headaches. Grad school can get insanely competitive. Some people feel the need to have the best grades, and the top research, and the most clinical hours when compared to the rest of their peers. It can be very intimidating and you may feel the need to do everything that everyone else is doing in order to keep up (trust me: these people don’t matter). However, is all of this really worth your own mental health? How useful can you be to clients and colleagues if you are stressed, burnt out, and highly anxious because you have too many projects going on at once? Always remember: there are MANY opportunites in grad school. Saying no to one thing to focus on yourself is not the end of the world. A new opportunity will present itself very soon.
- STAY IN THE PRESENT
This is something that I struggled with a lot during the beginning of my academic career, and also something that I am still learning to manage. I am a future-oriented person by nature. I am always thinking weeks, months, and even years in advance. I am always setting various goals for myself. However, graduate school flies by! It may not seem like it, but it does. Just as undergrad and highschool flew by. While you may have different goals for yourself, it is also important to enjoy being a student and to enjoy the process of learning and growing. Not many people will have the opportunity to study and work in your field. But, you do! Don’t take that privilege lightly.
- IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP
This can include former and current professors, family members, friends, and even a therapist. Yes, therapists have therapists too! Knowing your limits and being able to reach out for help when you’re stressed is crucial in grad school. No one makes it through alone! Perhaps the most surprising thing during my graduate school journey was finding myself stressed about things that did not phase me in undergrad. This included giving presentations, having a ton of chapters to read in a super short amount of time, or even having several papers to write over a weekend. Graduate school is an entirely different animal and you may find yourself surprised by things you can and cannot handle on your own. So, never be afraid to reach out for assistance!
- ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
I cannot stress this enough, SELF-CARE IS VERY IMPORTANT! Especially in graduate school and even more crucial when you enter the professional field. As psychologists, we often put ourselves after our clients/patients, family, and even friends. As helpers we are used to caring for another person’s needs before we tend to our own. However, this can quickly become detrimental and lead to burnout no matter what field or population you work in. Self-care can include exercising on a regular basis, journaling, yoga, daily meditation, and my all-time favorite, sleeping! Whatever your vice, be sure to incorporate some daily self-care. Yes, this can be difficult when life gets the better of us and we become busy in our daily routines. But, your mental health will thank you for it!