Strategies for emotional wellbeing (Part 1 of 3 in Navigating, surviving, and thriving in the challenging landscape of academia)
It's no news that during graduate studies and beyond, the unique combination of stressors in academia takes a psychological toll on students, postdocs, and faculty. In light of increased isolation and financial strain during the disruptive pandemic, the topic of mental wellbeing has gained renewed attention. In this year's virtual meeting, MRS brings a 3-part series Navigating, surviving, and thriving in the challenging landscape of academia.
The unstable environment and future uncertainty have been unsettling. Mental fatigue can be overwhelming for anyone, leading to low motivation and low mood. In Part 1 Coping with Stress in Academia—Strategies to cope with the pandemic & create support structures, Prof Yvette G. Flores from the University of California, Davis shares coping strategies for emotional wellness.
Physical self-care includes getting enough exercise, sleep, hydration and nutrition. Emotional self-care involves actions designed to maintain balance in our lives. For example, play board games with your family, meditate, do breathing exercises, practice yoga, pray, cook, bake or watch the sunset - do what works for you.
Emotions begin in our thoughts and ideas. Our emotional state is reflected in our actions. Therefore, self-awareness of our thoughts allows us to change our behaviors.
- Accept information without corroborating its origin. Misinformation exacerbates panic and anxiety, giving a destabilizing effect.
- Recognize our fears - learn to understand them instead of rejecting them. Identify sources of anxiety.
- Begin the day with positive affirmation.
- Maintain a group of friends whom we can share our worries.
- Have gratitude. Recall 3 positive things during bedtime.
- Have compassion for ourselves. It is okay to not feel okay - give yourself permission.
- Have patience. "This too, shall pass."
And remember, that each and every one of us is worthy of career success and holistic wellness. We're all in this together. As the saying goes, crisis is opportunity. Let's transform our fears into opportunities for improvement.
On a final note, do check out the curation of resources for the academic community under the "Files" tab.
In Part 3, join an interactive workshop "Mental health literacy and creating community culture change in STEM" on Thu 3rd Dec 1130 - 1330 Eastern Time.
Let me know your favorite self-care tips on Twitter @labspatula
Wishing everyone a good day ahead.
P.S. How about checking out some art?