Self-Care for a Young Feminist Graduate Student // Anastasiya Tsoy
Self-Care for a Young Feminist Graduate Student
Passing classes, preparing for graduation, finishing Master’s thesis, funding a job and planning out-of-school life is overwhelming for a young woman. With our busy lives and hectic schedules, hundred of internships and endless goals, sometimes we forget about our well-being and mental health. As a master’s student, student advocate and active community member, I created a plan of maintaining my health with these simple steps.
1. Set Goals, Prioritize Them.
To prioritize goals, write them down first. If you have long-term goals such as applying to Ph.D., make them short and concise (e.g., take GRE classes, find the right program, contact admission office, fill out application, etc.). With the short-term goals, you can create your own path. Make sure to move step by step.
Tips. Do not be upset when things do not go exactly as you planned. Life is not a plan but you can predict any kind of consequences in advance. If you do not get what you want, make sure to find an alternative way to move towards your goal aka dream.
2. Sleep, Eat, Drink is the Key.
Setting goals and creating schedule of your next moves helps to clarify your path. Be mindful of your health. Have enough sleep, food and water. Having enough sleep is the key for your brain to rest and become ready for the next hard working day. By having enough proteins and healthy fat, your brain cells and body is ready to produce energy to finish your Master’s thesis. Drinking water helps you to stay hydrated and helps oxygen force your blood to go to your brain. The more often your blood circulates in your body and brain, the faster you remember and recall information.
3. Save time for yourself.
Small things make life happier. Try to find 30-40 minutes per week to give it to yourself by having massage, manicure, pedicure or your favorite show. Let go of stress – whether it is a thesis, papers, finals or negative mindset. If you under stress, guilt, doubt or envy is preventing you from writing an A+ paper. If you cannot finish the chapter of a very tough topic, your brain gives you signal to change an environment. By changing functions for 30-40 minutes will give your brain rest from routine [Try to jungle functions: Left-brain that we usually use to study (analytic thought, logic, language and science) and Right-Brain functions that we use for creative thinking (intuition, art, music, creativity, holistic thought).
4. Forget about your devices.
As a very busy young woman with set of goals, booked schedule for the next several months, I understand how hard it is not to check your email and social media accounts every 30 minutes or less. By not having a device with an instant online access, some may feel isolation from the real world. Try to have an online free day at least one day per month then try to have it every week to avoid anxiety of being isolated. (Anxiety of not being on top of the latest news and inability to email your professor right away make us anxious and vulnerable.)
5. Enjoying today is the biggest gift of your life.
Prioritizing goals and trying to reach them every day make us to forget what is happening outside. Stealing time from our well-being to professional goals make us physically weak. Try to find time for your mental health by attending yoga class, meditation or talk therapy. Life is too short to spend it for reaching professional goals only; the life is an amazing process of knowing yourself, surrounding and creating memories, so be mindful and take a step away from your computer now and start to act to save you for yourself.
Picture source: http://berkeleysciencereview.com/article/mind-grad-school/