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Managing Stress


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Managing Stress

Graduate study can be an extremely stressful period for students.  When not addressed properly, stress can lead to mental and physical exhaustion and illness.  Too much stress can affect health, productivity, and relationships – all of which can negatively impact the academic performance of graduate students.  It is important to recognize signs of stress such as exhaustion, significant appetite shifts, headaches, crying, and unhealthy sleep patterns (under or oversleeping). First, identify stressors or sources of your stress.  Then develop a plan or strategy to combat stressful situations which may include but is not limited to setting realistic goals, removing yourself or limiting your time in stressful situations (if possible), developing coping and relaxation skills, implementing an exercise routine, and improving eating habits.  If stress if affecting your studies, we recommend that you seek professional help through the University Counseling Center.

Relevant workshops (see Calendar for current workshops)
  • Stress Resiliency Workshop
  • Counseling workshop  
  • Search "life skills," "stress" or "moving on" on the PLAN Resources page for links to workshop materials and other resources.
Student Experience


Mike Sobiech, doctoral fellow in English (Composition) shares some useful tips on how to manage stress:

Sobiech photo"Simple Ways to Manage Your Stress"

     This is easy advice to give and hard advice to live, but you really should seek out ways to release some stress. There are different ways of doing this, some of which I’m better at than others. I do notice that making any progress on a project helps reduce my anxieties. Instead of worrying about a paper or a presentation or a whatever, if I do some actual work on it, I will feel better about it. It doesn’t have to be much--a half hour of reading or researching or writing--but anything is always better than nothing, and over a period of time, incremental progress adds up to real progress.
    But I’m not just advocating work as a seemingly paradoxical release for stress--a graduate student needs other forms of stress release. Again, there are so many different ways of doing this, but two ways that help me are jogging and Thursday TV night. I don’t jog as much as I need to, but when I do, being outside doing something physical allows my mind to rest and reorganize, both of which are valuable for a semester’s work. And while Thursday’s TV night goes in the opposite direction of a jog--I sit on my couch, watching NBC’s lineup of comedies for two hours--I think it has some of the same benefits. A body that gets a work out and a heart that gets a laugh leads to a mind that can get its work done.


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