The Spring Stressmester
Spring break has come and gone. Can I have it back? Rest, relaxation, work, friends, family, and reading all combined to give me a full and prosperous seven days. The peaceful week I was able to experience made me realize how much I was pushing myself to my breaking point. Needless to say, this past semester has turned me into quite the student of stress. I have been able to study it, live it, breathe it, and ruminate on it #notfun.
My interactions with stress this semester have been humbling and difficult. I was talking with a friend about my experience of stress and I commented on how it was interesting that even though I always thought of myself as a chill person; my chillness (is that a word?) didn’t necessarily translate to my ability to handle it well. Even writing a blog post about warning signs didn’t prepare me enough for the stress I was going to deal with this semester.. Shocking, I know.
Interestingly enough, I do not think that feeling pressure (stress) or being pushed is necessarily a bad thing, it is truly just a fact of life. We are often going to feel stressed, we must simply be aware of how we are dealing with it.
And just because I wrote a blog post about feeling stressed in the past and knowing my warning signs did not mean that I would be prepared for the stress of grad school, a completely different life experience.
It is easy to beat yourself up about the fact that you are experiencing stress. It is easy to stare wide eyed at your list of things to do, unable to concentrate on where to start. It is imperative when you are in this state to remember to take a deep breath and realize your stress is affecting your performance. We all have a work capacity, I hope to encourage others to know themselves and know their limit.
Self-care strategies can come in handy and prevention is certainly important, but I would encourage you to remember that when you know you are not going to be able to completely prevent something (i.e., stress in grad school) it is beneficial to become aware of how you can best deal with the issue in the moment. I think I was fighting stress for so long I forgot that sometimes the first step in remediation of symptomatology is accepting that you actually have a issue.
Avoidance is easier than acceptance (in the short term) AND I am learning that there is wisdom in owning your problems and seeking to be solution oriented.