3 Fantastic Ways to Overcome Stress in School, at Work
It’s early August and I’m so sick of the negativity lately that I could scream. We’re still three months away from the elections, and a girl can’t enjoy watching coverage of the Olympics without being bombarded by political attack ads. (Seriously, let me enjoy synchronized diving without dive bombing me.)
The job market is a little better, but some work environments still seem to be incredibly terse. All of this, and I just finished a challenging class in my Master of Business Administration – Project Management degree program (I am SO NOT a numbers person). Sometimes, I can’t help but feel a little down, like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.
I may not be the only one feeling this way, so I’m going to take a step back from my little black rain cloud. Instead of focusing on the negative, I think we need to try to find ways to stay positive.
Pursuing an online degree, like many other endeavors, can be extremely rewarding. It can also be stressful for adults who work full-time jobs and/or care for families. The good news: The stress can be overcome. Here are a few suggestions on how to overcome the stress that may accompany pursuing a degree, working and caring for a family:
Little black rain cloud No. 1 – Class has you stressed.
It happens to the best of us. You’ve done well up until this point, but something is off now. Maybe you don’t "get" the subject as well as you have others. Maybe you just don’t have enough time in the day. Whatever it is, this current course has you stressed to the max.
Ray of sunshine: Step away for a bit.
On the TV show Entourage, they believed in “hugging it out.” Some people dance it out. Others (though this might not be the best idea, depending on where you’re physically located at the time) scream it out. The point is to have something that you can use to release the built-up stress. Whether it’s having an endorphin increase (“endorphins make you happy”), or just taking a step back from the textbook/computer, taking a small mental break from the stressor should help you take a fresher approach to the issue at hand when you get back to it.
Little black rain cloud No. 2 – There are rumors of layoffs at work.
Ugh … You read about the job market getting better, but your office still has people whispering about upcoming turnover in the workplace. Whether these rumors are founded in truth or not, even the thought of an unstable working environment is enough to make your stress levels start to rise.
Ray of sunshine: Think outside of the box.
Figure out how you might become an asset your company can’t survive without. Is there a skill set that needs to be met? Learn how to do it. Maybe this is accomplished by furthering your education while working; or perhaps it requires taking a specialized class to become a more qualified asset to your company.
Is there an activity that no one else wants to do? If you have the time, step up and offer to take it over. Don’t just come in and do the bare minimum day in and day out. That’s the quickest way to be one of the first ones out the door, and not to mention it’ll leave you feeling stuck (and blah, too).
Little black rain cloud No. 3 – Everyone is channeling their inner Oscar the Grouch.
Ray of sunshine: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
In this circumstance, I look at Gandhi’s quote like this: If everyone around you is negative, you need to put the positive energy out there to help change things. Even if it doesn’t help change everyone else’s outlook, it will definitely help put you in a better mood.
Not thinking happy thoughts? Find something that will help turn your mood around. Personally, I keep mementos at my desk (chances are if you’ve given me a greeting card in the past year, it’s hanging up in eyesight). Anytime I’m feeling down, I look at these and find my happy place. You might like quotes, or comics; whatever it is - find it and use it.
If that doesn’t work and you can’t escape the down talk, channel your inner teenager and let what’s being said go in one ear and out the other. Just make sure you understand the full gist of what’s being said before tuning it out. I would hate for you to miss something important.
To be blunt, life isn’t always sunshine and roses. How you handle it, though, is entirely up to you.
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About the author: Lindsey Leesmann, Communications Specialist at Grantham University, received her Bachelor of Science – Print Journalism from Missouri State University, Springfield. Prior to her current role, she served as a student advisor in the Multidisciplinary Studies and master's degree programs.