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How do you deal with stress in graduate school?

The life of a student, especially a graduate student, is filled with stress, anxiety, and pressure to perform. With looming deadlines, research papers, and exams, it's easy to get overwhelmed and fall into unhealthy habits. For many students, stress-eating becomes a go-to coping mechanism, leading to overeating and unhealthy food choices. In this blog, we will explore some tips to manage stress and avoid unhealthy habits, without compromising on joy and relaxation.

  1. Take a break and go for a walk: It's important to take a break from work and give your mind a rest. Going for a walk, even for just 10 or 15 minutes, can help clear your mind, reduce stress, and provide a change of scenery. A change of scenery can do wonders in refreshing your mind and allowing you to return to your work with renewed energy.
  2. Listen to relaxing music: Music has the power to soothe the mind and body. Listening to calming music, such as LoFi or classical music, can help reduce stress and create a peaceful atmosphere. Take a few moments to listen to your favorite songs or playlists, and let the music wash away your stress.
  3. Light a candle: Aromatherapy is a great way to reduce stress and create a relaxing environment. Light a candle with a soothing scent, such as lavender or chamomile, to help you relax and unwind.
  4. Sip on some tea: Drinking tea can help calm your mind and body. Choose a calming tea, such as chamomile or peppermint, and sip it slowly while you work. Not only will it help you relax, but it will also keep you hydrated.
  5. Switch to a trivial task: When you feel like you can't concentrate on your work anymore, switch to a trivial task that doesn't require much mental effort. Yard work, such as raking leaves or pulling weeds, can be a great way to unwind and let your mind wander.
  6. Know when to call it a day: Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to make progress. It's important to recognize when it's time to call it a day and come back to your work with fresh eyes. Don't stress yourself out trying to push through when you're not making any headway.
  7. Exercise: Even if you don't enjoy it as much as chocolate, exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health. When you're feeling stressed, try doing some light cardio, such as a brisk walk or jog. It will help regulate your breathing and clear your mind, making you more productive in the long run.
  8. Find activities and social relations outside of academia: While academia is an important part of your life, it's important to have activities and social relationships outside of it. This will help you maintain a balance between work and life, and prevent burnout. Don't let anyone guilt you into thinking you shouldn't have a life outside of your studies.
  9. Don't worry about what your professors might think: It's easy to get caught up in worrying about what your professors might think of your work. However, it's important to remember that you're doing this for yourself, not for them. Don't let their opinions hold you back or cause unnecessary stress.
  10. Take advantage of mental health services: Graduate school can be a challenging and stressful time, and it's important to take care of your mental health. Many universities offer free mental health services for students, so take advantage of them if you need to. Don't be afraid to reach out for help if you're struggling.

In conclusion, managing stress in graduate school is crucial for graduate students to maintain their physical and mental health. It can be challenging to juggle school work, research, and other commitments while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, it is essential to incorporate small, healthy habits into your daily routine to manage stress effectively. As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

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