Disclaimer This post was sponsored Tai Pei, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
When I was in graduate school, I ate a lot of Asian takeout. Like, so much that I would never want to go back to the website I ordered from to add it all up. When I moved back to my hometown after graduating, I was always looking for something new to try and I found that in Tai Pei. I want to thank them for sponsoring this post, so I can offer you some great graduate school self-care advice (which may or may not involve finding a food you like and indulging in it every once and a while.)
I have put together a list of seven tips. Some of these will be more general, and some will be pointed for when you are studying or working on your coursework.
1. Be present When You Study
First and foremost, be present when you study! The worst thing you can do for your sanity is to spend hours upon hours studying but only getting a minimal amount of stuff done. Even if you only read a chapter of your book, your brain will still feel fried if you spend hours doing it. Being present will allow you to study much more content while taking less time to study.
This will take a lot of action on your part to begin with. It WILL NOT be easy at first. Studying with intention takes time, energy, and constant reflection. You need to be able to feel when you are getting sidetracked and do the things necessary to remedy that. For you, that may look like noticing you are drifting off, then taking a brisk walk around your room or doing some jumping jacks to get back in the game.
You also need to know what to call it quits for a while. Sometimes you just aren't going to be able to focus. So, instead, take a power nap or watch just one episode of your favorite fall television show. Your brain only knows what you show it, so if you tell your brain that you will be taking a quick power nap, don't overdo it. When you break promises to yourself, it starts to become the norm, so live up to every promise that you can.
2. Manage Your Procrastination
It's so easy to put off your big assignments that seem so far away. The term paper ends up at the bottom of your to-do list, and don't even get me started on actually writing a thesis! On the other hand, when you procrastinate these HUGE projects, it can come back to bite you.
We have all been madly typing away at a project because we left it until the last minute. Trying to get it all done can be a complete pain and it can majorly stress you out. NO ONE ENJOYS STRESS. So, what is the thing that you actually should do? Well, you need to manage your procrastination.
When you get an assignment, break it down into smaller chunks, then follow through on that plan. Any paper that you write, book that you read, etc. can all be broken down into manageable chunks. Then you find a way to fit those chunks in every single day. Make working towards those projects a daily habit.
When you manage your procrastination and start on things right away you can cut down on a lot of unnecessary stress which is amazing for your self-care.
3. Make Time To Do What You Actually Love
It's so easy to steer clear of doing the things that you love because of graduate school. There is always something that you could be doing that will get you closer to graduation and your degree. Because of that, you write off spending time on yourself, and you try to justify being a school work busybody.
While I agree you shouldn't procrastinate and you should focus on your school work, I also assert that if you want to stay sane in graduate school you gotta do something for you. For me, that was usually working on The Happy Arkansan or binge-watching one of my favorite shows on television. You gotta do whatever feels right for you.
You can also do a bit of both studying and doing what you love. For instance, cooking dinner (or warming up some frozen fried rice from Tai Pei) while listening to a book for a class on an audiobook or working out (if you love to do that) while listening to a recorded lecture. It's great to take the Elle Woods approach to studying and multi-tasking in a way that makes sense for you.
When you take the time to do something fun, you can make all the difference in your sanity during graduate school.
4. Learn The Power Of The Word No
Graduate school is difficult. You want to be a busy bee. You want to have your hand in so many pots that it's almost ridiculous. You want to work with a professor, you want an internship, you want to work on your thesis, you want to be a GA, you want all of these things. You proclaim to yourself that the time you have now is the perfect way to get ready for the future. You want ALL THE THINGS to put on your resume.
But, there is also all the non-academic things. You have a family and friends you love and want to see. You have an apartment you want to sit and watch television shows in. You have naps you want to take, fried rice from Tai Pei you want to eat, books you want to read. etc.
There are SO many things pulling you in a million different directions. Sometimes you have to cut your ties and shout a big resounding NO to people. No to a collaboration with a professor, no to a date night with friends, no to your urges to nap all day on a rainy day.
Sometimes you just have to say no and it won't always be the academic no's you have to say. It may be the rough ones, the fun activities you will miss out on with your friends. It will suck, but it's all about balance. Don't say no to every request from your friends, don't say no to every request from your professors. Learn that there is power in the word no, but you must also balance it too.
5. Eat Great Food
I am definitely a fan of food and how it can make me instantly feel happier. Now, you probably shouldn't do this all the time, but if food is the way to your heart, eat food that makes you excited whether that is cooking, eating takeout, or getting my personal new favorite Asian food from Tai Pei.
For this post I tried Tai Pei's Chicken Fried Rice. If you are a fan of fried rice, you will love this meal. It was so yummy tasting as it was made with white meat chicken; lots of crisp vegetables like peas, carrots, and corn; and of course the fried rice itself all topped with an oyster flavored sauce. Delish! If you are looking for Asian food, Tai Pei has you covered.
Last time I worked with Tai Pei I tried the beef with broccoli (my personal favorite Asian dish) along with their sweet & sour chicken and I loved both dearly. I am convinced that Tai Pei has some wonderful dishes that will become a lunch staple at my house when I need to destress and eat something good for lunch.
I am seriously so thankful to Tai Pei for creating such great fried rice because this takes me back to graduate school, but in a much more economical way. If you want to try their Asian food you can do so with a $1 off coupon to Tai Pei! These dishes are already very economically priced, but a $1 off never hurt anyone.
Tai Pei is teaming up with Influence Central and all of the Tai Pei ambassadors to giveaway ten (10) $100 Walmart gift cards! I am so jazzed about offering this gift card giveaway for y'all! Just so you know, I-C will randomly select 10 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes.
6. Get An Adequate Amount Of Sleep
Ahh, sleep, a thing that eludes many of us.
It's so important that you get an adequate amount of sleep, but how do you actually do that?
Well, you need to set up an environment where sleep can exist:
- Never work from your bed if you can help it: I say this as I am blogging from my bed, but I know that it's not good for me. If you can, try to study at a desk or table and away from your bed so that your bed becomes a peaceful place where you can feel comfortable sleeping.
- Build in some turn down time. You should be logging off your computer an hour or so before you actually want to sleep. During that time read a book for one of your classes, study flashcards for an upcoming test, or listen to a podcast.
- If all else fails, use melatonin: Melatonin is something that our body naturally produces when we are drifting to sleep, but you can purchase it as a supplement. Taking a small amount will help you fall asleep faster if it's hard for you to turn your brain down normally.
7. Reach Out For Help When You Need It
Last, but certainly not least, reach out for help when you need it. You are not in this alone, even if you think you are. Reach out to your professors, your classmates, your family, and your friends. They are all there to help you and want to see you succeed.
It's so easy to feel like you are going through graduate school alone. In some ways you are, but that doesn't mean that your family/friends can't try to understand where you are coming from. If you shut your family and friends out, though, that's definitely not healthy. It only takes a few minutes to sit down with your family and share how you are feeling with them. It may seem like a lot of hard work, but you should do it anyway. I promise you will feel a lot better after you do so.
Thanks again to Tai Pei for sponsoring this post on The Happy Arkansan. I adore Tai Pei and this brand ambassadorship I am doing with them. I hope that you enjoyed my tips for graduate school self-care and that you take these words to heart.
Don't forget to scroll up to enter the giveaway happening with Tai Pei and Influence Central.
Click to get your $1 off coupon for single-serve Asian food from Tai Pei.
Click to use the store locator to find Tai Pei at your nearest store.
Don't forget to join Tai Pei on Twitter at 1 PM EST on Thursday, November 2nd for a fun Twitter party!
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