“Relax?! How do I do that???”
Grad school stress stems from feeling that: (a) your work is not good enough; (b) you are not good enough; (c) you have to do A-Z; and/or (d) you should be reading/researching/writing. Whether you feel one of these stresses or all of them at any given time, it’s important to give yourself moments to consciously RELAX.
I say this with a small chuckle in my head, because as a high-strung, INTJ-type of person, relaxing for me has become a very difficult thing to do. It is an easy habit to learn how to live with this constant stress in your life. However, if you don’t keep things in check, this stress can become chronic, and can lead to all sorts of other problems (high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, constant muscle pain, etc).
Please, as you are working, put breaks into your day, where you can stop for a moment, and consciously tell your body to breathe deeply, relax, and let things go. Better yet (and essential to your well-being), make time to take care of your body. With the winter months keeping me huddled by the warm heater and my computer, going out for fresh air is difficult. Here’s some ways that I’ve found to help me try to relax, and forget my stresses for a bit:
The Sworkit App – has 5-10 minute workouts (including yoga) that you can do in between your sprints.
The Three-Minute Breathing Space – is a way to consciously assess your mind and body, attuning it with your breath.
Rodney Yee’s AM/PM Yoga – I found these short (10 minutes of meditation and 28 minutes of yoga) sequences of videos to start off the morning, and end off the evening on iTunes. Sitting in your chair for hours on end isn’t good for those cramped muscles. Stretch them a bit, and then, relax.
Other things that you can do: moving meditation as you work out or run, play with a pet, be completely mindful when you clean or cook, make a “no electronics” time before bed so that you can unwind, take a bubble bath, watch a movie marathon, or splurge on a massage, facial, or pedicure.
In other words, build some time to really, really let go and not think about your work for a bit. Pamper your body. Believe me, your work will be there when you get back!