The Stress Struggle is Real: Stress Management for Adult Students
By Guest Author: Niké Basurto
Last month I saw my dentist and learned that I was clenching my jaw so tightly at night that I was damaging my teeth. The real culprit? Stress. After some soul searching and a bite guard, I took measures to de-stress. Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned so far.
Humor me for a second. Write down three really important things you need to do today. Now, look at that list. Is something that involves taking care of you on that list? Probably not. Our jobs, co-workers, instructors, course mates, kids, loves of our lives, parents and even pets always seem to need us for something. In my house, the bathroom isn’t even a refuge. But guess what? The only person who can say, “I just need a minute for myself,” is you. The photo on the left was taken by one of my dearest friends. I’m dancing in a club while my childhood and cherished friend is DJ-ing. No, I’m not the youngest one in the club, but I don’t care. All I know is that it makes me happy. Do a little something that makes you happy every day.
Loosen the Reins
Stop trying to control everything. We made a major change by returning to school. We took control of our careers or lives or both and that can be scary. One way people often manage fear is through control. The problem is, no matter how many color-coded calendars and to-do lists we create, we can’t control everything. Yes, we need to manage our time and schedules, but don’t get bent out of shape when something doesn’t work out. Look for the possibilities behind the problems. So your course mate isn’t responding in your group. What a great opportunity to practice your project management skills. See how that could work?
If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. This was a hard one for me. Hopefully the project management course I’m taking in the fall will help me untangle some of this more. Until then, I have decided to write a list of three things that absolutely have to be accomplished that day. One list is for school and the other for home life. I still make a to-do list weekly, but I find that everything on that list doesn’t need to be accomplished at once, so I move those things around accordingly.
There you have it, a few ways to lower stress in your life. I would love to hear your take on student life and stress.
- What’s your go-to stress reliever?
- Have you ever found stress to be useful?
Niké (Nee kay) Basurto, MSW, CAE
Niké is a seasoned nonprofit professional transitioning into instructional design and training with a passion for organizational development, dancing, laughing, fabulous live music and a great meal. Currently, she is a full-time student in the MATD program at Roosevelt University, thoroughly enjoying working as a Graduate Assistant for the Training and Development department, and seeking an amazing summer internship. Feel free to connect with and follow her:
Nice article as I learned many years ago that I need to focus more on myself and not so much on my work or on others. I try to keep my stress levels as low as they can be as stress is not easy to deal with. I don’t make a written list of things to do, but instead I make a mental list. My list consists of many items and some of these items have been on my list for years. So, I prioritize my list in what really needs to be accomplished and finished. I almost always have items on my list that are dedicated to only myself as I believe in selfcare.
At times things do get stressful especially when something unexpected happens and I can’t finish all that I want to finish on any given day or week. I believe I am like others where there are simply not enough hours in each day/week to get everything done.
For me my go-to stress reliever is getting 8 hours of sleep nightly and also doing some form of exercise. Sleep and exercise help to keep me awake, active and mentally sharp.
I do find some stress to be useful. I know if I am running behind on a big project that I will focus more on the project as time is of the essence. I will not let distractions come in my way if I need to finish by a certain time. For the most part, I try to do everything in a timely manner so my stress level stays low.
Wow, it’s so crazy how stress can affect you even in your sleep. This just made me think about the fact that when I wake up, I’m biting my tongue. It does not happen often. However, after reading this, I will definitely keep an eye out for it as this might be a sign of stress.
These tips are so simple as a concept, but so difficult to implement in reality. I’ve implemented stress-relieving practices, and still find myself not utilizing them as much as I should be. One of my stress relievers is taking a nice bubble bath. The other is binge-watching HGTV; specifically the tv show, House Hunters, lol. These are calming and free options, but I rarely do.
Surprisingly, I have found stress to be useful. For instance, like many people, I’m often times stressed about work to the point where I’m still thinking about it when I get home. Instead of running to my work email as soon as I enter my living room, I use all of that stressful energy to complete chores or projects around the home. Initially, my mind is still racing with work-related thoughts. But as I continue on with the chores, I begin to focus my attention on the current task, and eventually, I’m no longer thinking about work. This has been very helpful for me