Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stress Overload and a Request

I AM EXTREMELY STRESSED OUT. Sorry. Just needed to get that off my chest. It is sort of strange because school has always been my thing, and I don't really get too worked up about it. But this semester is out of the next week I have:

- one project due (tomorrow)
- one lab homework due (Monday)
- one 15-page paper due (Monday)
- two 30-minute presentations (Monday and Thursday)

And stuff doesn't really seem like it's going to slow down anytime soon...three of my classes have huge final projects that will be due over the next 4-6 weeks. I am also writing two manuscripts for my advisor, running analyses on three datasets, and working 30 hours between my two other jobs. I am ALSO juggling 11 doctoral applications with four recommenders.

Anyone want to take some of this off my plate? Anyone? Anyone?

Free 3D Stressed Smiley Face Clipart Illustration

I know it will all get done. And I knew coming into this semester it would be a doozy. But this is the first time I've really taken stock of everything that needs to be accomplished in the near future and was like, Wow. Not actually sure how it's going to happen.

Sorry that pretty much all my posts these days are about either A) I am stressed or B) I can't sleep. Raise your hand if you think they might be related.

I am not using any super unhealthy coping techniques - a.k.a. I am still eating and I am not running 50 miles a day. But I am obsessively making lists, checking my calendar every six seconds, chewing gum like a fiend, chewing my fingernails like a fiend, scribbling notes to myself like a fiend...basically I have turned into an all-around fiend. And I am working myself into a tizzy pretty much every evening about everything I need to do and everything I have not done.

Stress for me manifests deep in my gut. I get this sick, nervous, twisting sensation that feels like I'm about to go on stage, or ride a giant rollercoaster. And when that sets in, it stays with me. I don't think my stomach has unclenched since the semester started back in August. I suppose I could just white-knuckle it and pray and hang on for dear life until December, but that seems like it might not be the best course of action for a variety of reasons.

So! I am seriously asking for your tips, your wisdom, your musings, anything you do to stay sane when you are stressed! I do not care if it is an old wives' tale or hippie nonsense or some embarrassing ritual, I will try anything (well, most things). And I will be eternally grateful!!

Unrelated: I got my first iPhone over the weekend as an early birthday present (and also because my old phone was near death). It makes my life feel a little more complete.


  1. Well I am in nursing school at a University & I have to say stress is a HUGE issue with me too. I have a lot of things due every day of the week. I have class Monday-Friday and clinicals at multiple locations throughout the week, I also work 2 days a week and I'm on the tennis team. My life is CRAZY and I feel for you majorly!

    What I do is just stay on top of things as much as I can and just take one day at a time. It's overwhelming to look at everything ahead of time, I just do whats due the next day, I got my assignments done for tomorrow, and if I have time tonight I will start working on Friday assignments, and go from there.
    But my only goal everyday is to get what I need to get done for the following day. If I have extra time, i will think about the day after.
    It's making school slightly less stressful, and just time management all the way. Take time for yourself. I know it seems hard with school, but what I do, is if I have 3 assignments due th next day, I get one done, do a 10 minute yoga break or walk my dogs for 10 minutes outside, do the next assignment, another yoga or dog break, and do the last assignment.
    Taking frequent short breaks for myself kind of saves my sanity and makes focusing a lot easier on the assignments. I often get stuck in a rut of studying for so long my brain doesn't work and I can't focus and sit there for way longer than needed, whereas if I took a little break for myself and then focus on studying again, it goes by overall quicker.

    Not sure if this will help you or not. But just take one day at a time, don't look too far into the future, it's too overwhelming. One day at a time, and be sure to take breaks for yourself, even if it's just 5-10 minutes, just get up and stretch, get your brain working again.

    Always here to talk if you need me, I feel like were in the same spots in our lives right now!


  2. Sounds really hard! My strategies are:

    1) Decide to lower my standards. I.e., be okay with doing a bad job on the presentation or be okay with just "Scooting by." (Even if I end up still putting in tons of work and doing a good job, it helps to tell myself I don't care if I fail an assignment or something)

    2) Out of all the things I have to do, I decide what I'm not going to do. This might mean asking for an extension on an assignment. It might be giving up something I'm volunteering for. Sometimes there's ways' out of obligations if we really think about it and if we give up having to people please.

    I guess those are my main strategies. Otherwise I do what Kay does and try to stay in the moment as much as possible.

  3. I really like what both Kay and Laura have suggested. I know you love lists, and in times of massive stress, I've really looked at the priorities on the list and/or if there are "low hanging fruit," so to speak--stuff that won't be massive. If I can focus on just one thing at a time, put some music on, and really get into a groove, things tend to go much smoother. That being said, I also tend to lower expectations for myself to take the pressure off. I usually perform just fine, but I'm calmer knowing that I'll be totally fine if I get a B on something.

    Also, and this one may sound silly, but it has definitely helped me. When things have gotten crazy stressful for me, I keep a note in my pocket that says "You're a woman in charge, now go kick some ass." It helps me remember that i can do this, whatever it is.

    Hang in there!

  4. I think all these suggestions are perfect!! I know for me and my crazy stressful life - the way I cope with it is to take walks while listening to music. I also write lists too and that seems to help a ton! It helps my brain to not be so jumbled and it lowers my stress level so I can focus on things and cross things off one at a time.

    Make sure you take time for yourself too - no matter how stressful the day is - make sure you take time out at different times to relax. Even if it's just a 5 minute walk or running to starbucks and enjoying a soothing coffee ;)

  5. Take time out in a deserted place (If you can find one)
    And let out a huge scream
    I think they call this 'primal scream'
    You'll feel loads better! x