With all the mental, emotional, and physical stress of graduate school, it is important to make sure that you take time to check in with yourself, to recognize that you are a whole person with a body as well as a mind. Since many of us have spring breaks coming up, we thought it would be nice to go through some of our recent posts on wellness and inspire you to take a little time off for self-care.
Stay Bold: Creative Pursuits while in Graduate School, by Florianne Jimenez
“What can we do about the everyday feelings of ennui and anxiety over our work?” asks Florianne. “The answer I offer is this: grad students, go forth and make some art.” In this post, she walks you through some compelling reasons to start incorporating art into your weekly (or daily) schedule, what type of art you might be interested in, and what to do if you aren’t any good at it. Better than stopping to smell the roses, Florianne offers you a long-term method for increasing your productivity while also bringing some vibrancy into your life.
Morning Pages as Self-Care, by Heather VanMouwerik
Based on Julie Cameron’s plan in The Artist’s Way, Heather suggests that the daily practice of writing out all of your anxieties and worries first thing in the morning is perfect for graduate students who are plagued with impostor syndrome or generalized self-doubt. “The goal is to gather all of the negativity in your life,” she writes, “concentrate it in one place, and dump it out onto the page. By clearing your mind of this garbage, you are freeing up mental space for your work, schooling, and personal fulfillment. And you are doing it before you even eat breakfast.”
Working It Out: Building Fitness into Graduate Life, by Florianne Jimenez
Florianne’s second appearance on this list speaks more to your physical wellbeing by dismissing the notion that you are “too busy” for exercise. Rather than thinking of it as this mega undertaking though, she suggests that you take things slow, do things you like, and be realistic about what you can afford. The key: make it a priority, make it something that is not optional so you actually do it regularly. She reminds us that this is a process, that “this state of mind (and body) didn’t happen overnight. Getting myself to actually care about fitness was a long journey, and it is a journey that I am rediscovering all the time.”
This Just In: Keep Your Focus Among Breaking News, by Deidra Faye Jackson
Self-care and wellness are all about tuning into yourself. However, as Deidra shows, this sometimes can mean learning how to tune out the external world. “Consuming a constant diet of disturbing news,” she writes, “was blocking me from writing consistently. I could either continue following reported threats of discharged nukes and diminishing health services or I could ignore them for now, resume my research, and increase my page count. But I couldn’t do both.” In this post she offers some practical advice for finding a happy medium between these impulses, from setting a time limit and being intentional to holding yourself accountable.
Preventing Dissertation Burnout, by Megan Poorman
A lot of time wellness is discussed as being something outside of your graduate work, as being other to the stress of your studies. In this post, though, Megan reminds us that it is important to practice self-care within the context of our day-to-day work. Writing a dissertation, for example, is isolating and can easily result in burnout. As she writes, “with your dissertation you’re working constantly and you may already be starting from a slightly overworked place. You’re aware that the pace you’re working at isn’t sustainable, but there isn’t much you can do about that when you’re working against a deadline. So are you doomed to be miserable? No. While you may not be able to completely avoid burnout you can do some things to keep yourself functioning during the process.”