Wellness & Self-Care - The Graduate School

Wellness & Self-Care in Graduate School
New Graduate and Professional Student
Welcome and Orientation
Michelle Trotter-Mathison, PhD, LP
& Brian Post, PhD
Boynton Mental Health Clinic
Self Assessment
 What
does stress look like to you?
 How do you know when you are
stressed (what is your personal
definition of stress)?
 What are the primary stressors in your
Top 10 Ways to Stress Yourself Out in
Graduate and Professional School
10. Convince yourself that you don’t
belong in your graduate program
and that at any moment you will be
“found out.” Surely, you are on the
verge of being discovered and
kicked out of the program.
9. Put your life on hold. Never pursue any
interests or relationships outside of your
program. When cutting out time from
your social life to make room for more
work be sure to start by decreasing time
spent with those closest to you. They are
most likely to understand.
Spend time with others
Talk it out!
 supportive family and friends
 professional counselor
8. Define your identity by your
perceived academic success.
Spend all of your time ruminating
about how every grade you receive
and every professional decision you
make defines who you are as a
Perceived success ≠ Identity/worth –
unlinking the two
Take a different perspective
Look for the positive (gratitude
7. Start telling yourself that you are too busy for
exercise, cooking, or any other type of self-care
activity. Make “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” your
personal mantra. Bring a sleeping bag to the
office so you never have to go home.
Remember, caffeine is your best friend. Take
rapid, chest-level breathes because you don’t
have time for slow, deep belly breaths.
Get plenty of sleep
Consistency is key
Quality of sleep is as important as quantity
Exercise regularly
Eat a balanced diet
Reduce caffeine intake
Reduce intake of other substances
Practice deep breathing and relaxation exercises
Diaphragmatic breathing/Meditation
One-Minute Vacation
6. Act as if other students in your program are your
arch rivals. Never ask them for help or admit your
struggles to the competition. Be especially weary
of the most senior students in your program
because they are the most judgmental of all.
Constantly compare yourself to your peers.
Expect yourself to be the top student in your class
just like you were during your undergrad years.
Feel like a failure.
Respond to self-critical thoughts
with self-compassion
5. Develop a 24/7 work mentality.
Graduate students who take breaks
or vacations never get published or
land the most coveted practiceoriented opportunities.
 It
is a marathon, not a sprint.
 Gas
expands to fill the space it is given.
 Time Management
Reasonable schedule
Break big projects into small chunks
45/15 rule
Make room for self-care
4. Ensure that all of your work is
perfect. It is important to
remember that perfection is not
only possible but necessary at all
 Perfectionism
vs. Good Enough.
 Prioritize which projects/assignments
need 100% effort versus which just
need to get done.
 Procrastination (inch by inch, 20
minute rule)
3. Say “yes” to every opportunity.
It is never possible to be “too
busy” in graduate school. Feel out
of control.
Develop a sense of your interests
 Discuss opportunities with a
professional mentor
 Learn to set limits with others
 (It’s okay to say “no.”)
Introvert vs. Extrovert
2. Compare your graduate student
stipend (if you are lucky enough to
have one) to the salaries being
earned by friends who started
working in their area of study right
out of undergrad.
the “compare and
despair” dynamic
Remind yourself of your long-term
Resource: Financial counseling at
Boynton Health Service
1. Expect yourself to never get
stressed in grad school. If you feel
the least bit stressed you are a
failure. Not only as a grad student,
but probably as a human being too.
Remember, nobody else is feeling
stressed out.
Stress vs. Performance
“Good/Healthy” Stress
No Stress
Mindfulness/Breathing Experience
Campus Resources
University Recreation and Wellness
Free Yoga Classes through the Comfort Zone at Boynton Health
Pet Away Stress & Worry (PAWS), Boynton Health Service
Counseling available at:
 Boynton
Health Service
 University Counseling & Consulting
Student Conflict Resolution Center
Thank you for your time