Dr. Kyler Shumway is an author, speaker, and doctor of clinical psychology. He is the founder of KeynoteTherapist.com, a site dedicated to helping students and professionals in psychology find their mission, build a brand, and change the world through speaking and writing. Dr. Shumway works at Deep Eddy Psychotherapy, one of the largest outpatient practices in Austin, Texas. To learn more about Dr. Shumway, check out his website at KylerShumway.com.
Many of us look back on our week and feel astonished that we made it out in one piece. Client work, case management, consultation, assessment, report writing, faculty meetings, student group meetings. Oh, and also class. And life, I suppose.
As grad students, we are in a bit of a bind. Although we need to practice good self-care and make time for rest, we recognize the importance of this period of development. We have infinite opportunities to learn more, do more, and truly maximize our training.
In the spirit of finding and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, I recommend leaning into some time management and organization techniques. The key is to make your schedule as efficient as possible by prioritizing, streamlining, and eliminating certain activities. But first, you need to take a good look at your schedule.
You work hard. It’s Friday, and here you sit in your last class of the day running at about 10% capacity. You begin to nod off as your professor blesses the class by turning off the lights to show a video clip. As you slide slowly off your seat and are rudely greeted by the cold floor, you realize that you might not be showing your best self.
Granted, humans have bad days. Although we can’t always prevent off-days from happening, we can work to improve the message we send.
Graduate students and early-career professionals know how challenging, nay, grueling our work can be without a good night’s sleep. With all the demands of practice, coursework, family matters, research, and so forth, how can we hope to squeeze in a solid 8-hour sleep session?
Furthermore, how can we fall asleep when our minds are racing through that seemingly endless list of responsibilities and deadlines? We toss and turn and check our phones, remembering that each waking moment is wasted rest time.
All of us (well, hopefully all of us) try to practice good hygiene by bathing regularly, brushing/flossing teeth, and so forth. Yet, few of us try to practice good sleep hygiene.
If you have settled into a graduate program, then you have likely heard of many different types of student groups. Committees, support, clubs, and interest groups are ways that graduate students can organize meetings and other events in the pursuit of a common goal. These goals may range from community-building to self-care to social justice. Although many programs already have established groups, grad students may have difficulty finding their particular niche.
Well, if you can’t join ‘em… why not start your own? My hope is that this article will give you a frame to work with as you nurture your idea into a thriving Student Interest Group.