Manage Fall Stress with Tips for Financial Aid Professionals
Submitted by Debbie Murphy, Senior Marketing Associate
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.
With all the change that accompanies the return to school, fall is stressful for many families. But it’s especially so for people who work with students and families to help them successfully navigate financial aid. That’s why we are sharing a few tips to help you manage stress during one of your busiest times of year.
- Make time for self-care so you get sufficient sleep, healthy food, and hydration. Adrenaline associated with increased stress takes a toll on your body. While finding time for self-care is challenging now, it’s more crucial than ever. Log 7 or 8 hours of good sleep each night—or whatever you know you need to be productive—even if you don’t think you can afford the time. Keep water and other hydrating beverages nearby so it’s easy to remember to drink them, and plan to eat frequent small meals or snacks that help maintain your blood sugar level during long days.
- Use part of your time outside the office to counteract the way you spend your busy workday. If you spend most of your workday talking, use your commute to unwind by listening to classical, jazz, or whatever music you enjoy. If you’re glued to your computer at the office, give yourself a break from electronics by making your screened porch the only screen you use in the evening. While you may feel too mentally exhausted to exercise, taking a walk or bike ride stretches tired, cramped muscles—and helps you obtain quality sleep, too. And if you’re running from meetings to appointments all day long, plan for quiet meditation or yoga in the evening to help you focus your mental and physical energy.
- Use a realistic to-do list. Break up larger projects into small, achievable steps that allow you to tackle each day with a clear idea of what you need to accomplish, and balance these with ongoing duties. You’ll still encounter interruptions and unexpected tasks, but at least you’ll be able to fit them in around a prioritized to-do list for that day.
- Don’t try to do it all yourself. Encourage others to self-help—or ask for help when you need it. Both at home and at work, empower those around you to help themselves rather than feeling like you have to do it all. People can only rise to a challenge if they’re presented with one. Provide a link to handy resources your students can use to educate themselves, take a little time to train your colleagues to help with some of your tasks, or ask your significant other to take some of your responsibilities at home (e.g., providing meals one or two nights a week). An added bonus: People who are in a helping mode feel self-sufficient, and are less likely to demand more from you than you can give.
- Be where you are. Back-to-school can make fall busy at home and at work. Use a planner and make choices to be where you’re most needed—and then be there mentally, too. Nothing is less effective than wishing you were at your child’s school for an event when you’re sitting at your desk, working to meet a project deadline—or thinking about work tasks when you’re at your child’s soccer game or back-to-school night.