The Stress is Real/You’re Worth Downtime

With the start of a new semester and academic year, or in regular life “September,” we usually have beautiful days, cooler nights…and a creeping awareness of the new demands on our time for coursework, team projects, commitments, internship and job applications and interviews, and more.  I work with engineering students, so we always half-laugh about “midterms” – it’s just exams that run all semester long.  But regardless of major, School, program, applying for positions or being involved on campus, feelings of stress and anxiety may creep up on us and can be surprisingly strong.  What is a busy Penn person to do?

It’s so tempting to say “I just don’t have time” to combat stress when you’re busy, but you and your mental and physical sense of wellness are WORTH IT!  Light exercise (even just a few minutes’ brisk walking, if that’s what you can spare), eating thoughtfully and, if you’re so lucky, spending some time with a pet may help, in both the short and long term.  I find the easiest way to keep myself as a priority and keep stress at bay is to schedule time for exercise, to carve out an hour for meal prep and planning, and while I don’t have a pet, to laugh at something or along with someone.    What are your favorite de-stressing and self-prioritizing activities?   Can you pencil one in for tomorrow?

Even just 5 minutes for yourself may be just what you need.

By Jamie Grant
Jamie Grant Senior Associate Director, Engineering