This is Productivity 101. A classmate of mine once told me, “the best cure for anxiety is to study well.” What he was basically saying is that if you’re prepared and don’t procrastinate, the chances of you getting stressed out will be greatly reduced. And he’s right! That’s why I try to do everything way ahead of time. If I have an assignment or paper due on a certain day, I make sure it’s done and submitted a week before. This is one of the main things that has helped me in grad school thus far. While some folks are stressed out and pulling all-nighters in an attempt to finish assignments the day of, I’m relaxed and have moved on to the next thing. It also gives me a buffer for days when I don’t feel like doing anything, which is a lot of days. If my assignments are submitted way early, I can afford to give myself an extra lazy day where I don’t feel like doing anything or I have plans with friends or family. For example, my sister visited me from Texas two weekends ago, and because I’d finished my work way ahead of time, I was able to spend the entire weekend with her without being distracted by school work. My advice for anyone going back to school (really, for anyone trying to accomplish any project or goal) is to start from day 1 and start studying and knocking out tasks ahead of time. Don’t procrastinate!
This is very important. I’ve fallen into this trap in the past where I would feel bad not working. Grad school is so stressful with a lot of assignments, so early on when I had moments where I wasn’t doing schoolwork or studying, I felt like I was wasting time or missing something important. It took me a while to realize that working all the time was very harmful as well. It’s necessary and healthy to take time out to do the things that make you happy and feel good. This can be anything. For me, it’s spending time with my husband, Naomi, getting massages, watching my favorite TV shows - yes sometimes reality tv ;) - and hanging out with my girlfriends.
Every week on Sunday, I plan out my school and business tasks for every day with the highest priority tasks at the top. I make sure I complete those tasks every day, and when I’m done, I’m free to use the rest of the day for myself and family and don’t look at anything regarding school or my business. If I don’t complete my tasks for the day (which happens quite a bit also), I don’t beat myself up about it. I just move it to the next day and give it a higher priority.
There’s a struggle I’ve noticed a lot of new mom, including myself, have. A lot of times us mothers (new mothers especially) feel like we have to do everything. We feel like we have to work, cook every day, clean, take care of the children, etc. We tend to strive to be “every woman” all the time, and we end up just stressing ourselves out. This was me when I first had Naomi. I wanted to take care of everything for her and refused help when it was offered by my husband or family who visited. I didn’t even want a babysitter because I hated the thought of someone else taking care of my daughter. I felt guilty having someone else keep her. I also felt like I should continue doing the tasks I was doing in the house before I had a baby and refused help from my husband. If he offered to cook, I would say “oh no, Babe. I’ve got it”. Just a couple months in, I realized I was stressed out, and I didn’t need to be. I realized I couldn’t do everything... and that’s okay! That’s why I have a partner and helpmate to take up half the work and stress. I had to realize that I’m not a bad mother or wife if I say, "I need a break!" So, I finally said that one day. And of course, my husband was more than happy to take up the work! Now that I’m in grad school, we even have a nanny who watches Naomi, and she’s been a godsend to us. It’s great to just have a break, and we don’t have to feel mom guilt when we get help. We do ourselves and our babies a disservice when we don't accept help.
This is another mistake a lot of people make: comparing themselves to other people, especially people on social media. We all know those “perfect” people on social media. For me, it’s those Instagram moms who always look so well put together, who took pictures after birth and looked refreshed and beautiful, whose kids look so well-behaved, etc. There’s always a tendency to compare, like “wow, I wish I had her life. I wish my home was beautiful. I wish I was I had a big blog also, etc.” Then you get stressed out with your own life because school sucks, you had a stressful day at work, your baby is crying and you can’t figure out why, and you think that Instagram mom doesn’t have these issues. This is an extremely harmful thing to do, and it’s pointless because you don’t know anything about that person on Instagram. You don’t know what she’s going through in her life that the pictures don’t show, you don’t know where she’s coming from, or anything! Yet, you’re basing your self-worth at that moment to this idea you have of this person that isn’t you, hasn’t experienced the same things as you, and who might have more struggles than you do. It’s a lot more helpful and productive to base your progress on who you were yesterday. Ask yourself, how much were you able to accomplish today versus yesterday? If it’s more, then celebrate. When you do that, you won’t be so stressed out because you’ll realize that you’re doing a damn good job!
I would love to hear how you all deal with your stress. Please comment below some tips that help you and can potentially help others and also some mindfulness or yoga tips for me!
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