Published: Aug. 13, 2019 By
Two people talking over laptop computer

Balancing graduate studies with relationships, employment and other responsibilities can become overwhelming as we move into a new academic year. Sometimes it’s easy to feel weighed down by our own expectations to do it all. Prioritizing your health, taking breaks and finding support are the first steps towards having a successful and healthy year.

Finding what works for you

Finding ways to manage stress will make it easier to maintain your motivation. Try different techniques to relieve pressure and see what works best for you.

Positive psychology research indicates that physical activity, getting fresh air and sunshine, meditating and deep breathing can all reduce stress and improve your outlook. For meditation, we like using the mobile apps Breathe2Relax and Stop, Breathe, and Think. You can also drop-in on Feel Good Fridays, a free weekly guided meditation session at the CU Art Museum.

Talk it out

It's important to address your expectations, both for reducing stress and having a better graduate experience at CU. Grad students can experience external and internal pressure to perform at a high level academically, or may be concerned with what the future will hold after graduation. 

Know that you aren’t alone. Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) offers a number of process groups specifically for graduate students to talk through common stressors. You can also reach out to your support system of friends and family to talk things out.

Prioritizing health

Keeping up with your health allows you to continue achieving your goals and manage stress. Prioritize getting enough sleep (7–9 hours per night), eating balanced meals regularly, making time for exercise and engaging in hobbies beyond your program of study.

Resources

Learn more stress management techniques with SilverCloud Health, a free online portal available for graduate students. SilverCloud Health has programs covering three topics - stress, anxiety and depression - with tools and information you can use at your own pace.

If the stress of expectations ever becomes too much or the balance of goals and wellness just isn’t there, CAPS can help. Find them at their main office in C4C N352 or at various locations on campus through their Let’s Talk program.