Drowning & How to Stay Afloat

Hello Beauties, I’ve missed you all so much and I know this blog post is coming to you late and I’m sorry about that. I am entering (well almost done with) my sixth week of my graduate school fellowship!

Connection

About two weeks ago on Tuesday, I became extremely overwhelmed about the upcoming application season, my research project for the fellowship, and all my “adult” responsibilities. I’m not sure why but application season this time has become an extreme source of fear and anxiety. I really want to get into a specific PhD program – like more than anything. And as the time to apply gets closer and closer – I was just feeling so scared. I literally feel like I was drowning in my own created stress.

But I realized that it’s because I am trying to handle too much all at once. I am not superwoman and I don’t know why I try to be either. Its truly baffling. But I came out of that week of stress and figurative drowning knowing a lot more about myself and who I want to be. I realized that as I get older and more advanced in my career that the stress is just going to increase. Also, the way that I am handling the stress now will influence how I handle the future, more intense stress that is bound to show up.

What I need to do is stopping letting these stressors and fears get the best of me. First of all, I refuse to let these stressors and fears cripple or stop me from achieving my goals. Sure, they might cause me to pause for a hot second, but it wont hinder me from getting everything I need to get done, done.

So here are some new ways I am conquering my stress levels especially within the world of academia and I hope that they will help you conquer yours as well.

  1. Get the stress out of your head. This is actually something my mentor suggested here at school. She said, “instead of having all that stress in your head, write it all down. Every little thing that is stressing you out on to the paper. Once its all out of your mind, take a few moments and reflect on the items. Are these things you can change? If they are, change them. If they are tasks, finish them quickly so you won’t have to worry about them any longer.”
  2. Prioritize. One of the main things that helps get my stress when I have a lot to do in check is if I put tasks that need to be done into categories. I normally do three categories: urgent, can wait, postpone. Urgent means the task needs to be done first or within 24 hours. The Can wait category is for things within that week that need to be done, and postpone is for things that can be put off until the following week.
  3. Take breaks. I was told once that for every 55 minutes of work you do, you should take a 10 minute break. I really try to follow this unless I am on a roll in a project. During my breaks, I often go outside to walk my dog or sometimes I’ll watch an episode of my favorite show or just sit there with my eyes closed (just be careful not to fall asleep!). Also with taking breaks, whenever I feel like my stress is bubbling up out of control – I literally stop everything I’m doing and take a few moments just to breathe and relax. This stress is not the end of the world.
  4. Consider the stressors from your past. Thus far, you’ve conquered every stressor and problem thrown your way. You’ve survived every bad day, every bad situation that you thought you would never get out of, every negative interaction – you have conquered them all. I try to always remember that I have overcome a lot of stress and obstacles in the past so this one before me is not going to ruin my record!
  5. Talk it out. Take caution with this tip, but I’ve heard that talking about your stress to someone often helps. However, for me, sometimes when I tell people about my stress I feel like they diminish my problems and that stresses me out more. Find people in your life that you can go to about these stressors and that can help. For example, my grad and faculty mentors at school have been great sounding boards for my stress, but my friends not so much…

I strongly believe that stress is a necessary part of life but that it doesn’t always have to be a negative experience. Sometimes, at least for myself, stress propels me forward into success that I didn’t even imagine before.

You are a strong, stress handling boss and I believe in you! Share below some of your stress handling tips!

Until Next Time,

Tanesha

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Sunday Soapbox: Don’t Live In Fear

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Even if the fear is illogical or nonexistent – it still so causes distress on your body. Our bodies are naturally to equip to handle day to day stressors and fears but perpetual fear and stress causes wear and tear on our bodies.

Fear can even cause you not to do things you once enjoyed. I feel like I live in a constant state of fear – I’m afraid of not getting into grad school, letting people who believe in me down, someone hurting me or my brother (or any family for that matter), afraid of hurting someone’s feelings and the list goes on. And it sucks. I feel like always having to push past that fear becomes so overwhelming that it drowns out the other positive feelings in my life.

But as I am living with this fear and learning how to deal with it – I often find that the fears are mostly in my own head – thought up from an overactive imagination. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this fear won’t kill me – it might hurt a little, worry me a lot, and physically cause me to be uncomfortable but I won’t die.

I saw on Pinterest once that you must “starve your fears,” which I didn’t fully understand until now. One of the main ways not to feed your fears, is to do whatever it is that scares you. For me, it’s applying for different programs or asking former professors for letters of recommendations or even going to Walmart alone. For you, it might be conquering your fear of heights or standing up for yourself when you’re not being treated respectfully – Whatever it is – do it anyway.

Another way is to purposefully counteract the fearful thoughts with more confident, strong ones. Sometimes you’ll have to go to a person with a strong, confident voice to counteract your fearful thoughts. My go-to person is my mother because she’s almost too straightforward and is practically fearless. Whenever I start to have fearful thoughts, I think about my mother telling me, “what’s the worst thing that will happen?”

Don’t let your fears control your life. You are the captain of your fate. 

What ways do you conquer your fears? Share below in the comments. 

XOXO,

-Tanesha 

Love Yourself Challenge Week Two: 25 Reasons Why You Love Yourself

Ladies & Co. introduced the “Love Yourself Like A Queen” challenge last week and it’s already making an impact!  The 7-week challenge was created for women to self-reflect and look within ourselves through God. Last week we wrote love letters to our first loves, ourselves! Week 2’s activity was to think about 25 reasons you love yourself and I’m honored to be sharing my reasons. 25 reasons should come easy to a woman of confidence, but it took more time than anticipated to create my list.  I even had to pull in love ones to complete it, but this is my perfect list! Week 2’s challenge wasn’t just about the list, it was an activity to look from within to examine yourself in a positive light. In this life, we are our worst critics but this gave us an opportunity to reflect on the elements, characteristics and qualities that make us the beautiful queens we are!

What you love about yourself

  1. I am a child of God.
  2. I work hard to achieve my goals.
  3. I’m more actively involved in church.
  4. I’m acknowledging who I am.
  5. I’m content in my own skin and with my connection to God.
  6. I’m more aware of who I can depend on.
  7. I’m learning not to let anyone or anything steal my joy.
  8. I am recognizing my own self-worth.
  9. I’m appreciating all the wisdom my parents have shared with me.
  10. I’m walking in my purpose.
  11. I have a 5-10 year plan for my life (knowing everything does not always go according to this plan).
  12. The love, passion and commitment I have for seniors, children, and people in need.
  13. I am not allowing stress to control my behavior.
  14. I’m learning to broaden my horizons.
  15. I’m discovering my happy place!
  16. I’m becoming more humble in my journey.
  17. I know that I am made in God’s image so I am beautiful just the way I am.
  18. I am my sister’s keeper.
  19. I love to motivate and encourage those around me.
  20. I am family oriented.
  21. I have the hope and faith that our generation will positively impact the world.
  22. I am open to what God has in store for me.
  23. I try to see the good in all people.
  24. I’ve been transforming my mind, body and soul to be healthier.
  25. I am a phenomenal woman!

A.Rochell