Beginning something new will always trigger a variety of emotions because change is not easy. Choosing to advance your education is no different. You may feel fear of the unknown and anxiety in wondering if you will succeed. You will also likely feel pride in working toward a goal, and excitement about opening yourself up to a new experience.
It’s important to let yourself feel the emotions that come up. Don’t repress them or hide them away, instead address and release them so you can move forward confidently and in a way that enhances your overall well-being.
What to do if you have specific stress related to advancing education
When it comes to taking classes—especially as an adult learner, stress can often be attributed to workload or prioritization and organization. Take the time to learn where it is coming from, and some things you can do to lessen the stress you are feeling.
If you’re struggling with a class, whether it’s attending lessons or having difficulty with some of the concepts being taught, don’t be afraid to speak with someone about your struggles. You can chat with your instructor, with another classmate who seems to have a handle on the material, or with your Dedicated Advisor at Achieve. There are people ready to help and support you whenever needed, but you have to take the first step and reach out for help.
Prioritization and Organization
Having too much on your plate at one time can be overwhelming, and it causes excess stress. Going back to school as a working adult has its challenges, but scheduling dedicated time to study and work on your courses will not only improve your focus, but will also help reduce some of the stress you may feel when adding to your already busy schedule. Get your family involved and encourage their support of the boundaries you will need to set during dedicated study times.
How to effectively reduce stress and create balance
Stress, both positive and negative, is inevitable when you are pushing beyond your comfort zone and working toward a goal. It’s important to prepare for the emotions and stress that will arise. Here are some great ways to reduce stress, positively release emotions, and keep your overall wellness in balance.
- Write down your goals and refer to them often. When you start to feel overwhelmed, your mind also tends to produce more negative thoughts. Writing down your goals, and consistently referring to them keeps your focus on what you’re working to achieve and why. This will help to keep negative self-talk to a minimum.
- Practice self care. Even though your schedule is full, it’s important to take time for yourself. Find something that energizes you. Go for a walk, read a book, soak in a hot bath, or do something that makes you feel restored and ready to face your next challenge.
- Spend time with people you love. Having meaningful relationships with others gives you a sense of belonging, and helps you become more resilient. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, go to the people who care about you—friends, family, co-workers... Find the people who support you and your goal to return to school, and lean on them whenever you need to.
- Try to relax so you can focus. When emotions and anxiety are running high, your brain does not allow you to think clearly or form logical thoughts. You can ease your mind by getting out of your head. Take five deep breaths, and intently focus on your surroundings. How does the ground feel against your feet? What can you smell or hear around you? Wrap your arms around your body and give yourself a hug. Then, praise yourself for stepping out and trying something new.
- Do something that serves to help others. Helping those in need or giving back to your community has been proven to reduce stress. Even if you only have an hour once a month, the time you spend focusing on others will greatly improve your own well-being and your outlook on life.
- Take care of your body. Working to keep yourself healthy physically will help ensure your overall well-being. Eat nutritious foods, move your body, get outdoors, and keep up with your regular health appointments. One of the most important, and often overlooked, things you can do is get enough sleep. You don’t want to sacrifice your own wellness on a regular basis to make room for classes and homework. This isn’t sustainable long-term, and won’t help you overall.
It may take a while, but finding balance between work, lessons, social obligations, and self care is important. You want to make time for your studies, but you’ll also need time to do the things you love, and the things that re-energize you, so you can keep working to reach your goals.
Are you ready to advance your nursing education? Contact us and learn how we can help you start back to school with flexible, affordable bridge programs.