By Robert Washburn
Well, the moustache is beginning to grow, but it pretty rough. You can barely tell it is there. You need just the right light to see it. And, it doesn’t help that it is gray.
There was a great chance this week to talk to students about stress management. Having just passed the mid-semester mark, it is often a time when students start to feel anxiety to a much greater extent than before this point. The excitement of starting a new school year is long gone. And, the skills they are learning are in the very early stages, so they are not yet mastered. It can be a frustrating time as they continue to practice and, eventually, master them.
Not only is it stressful as a student, but also journalism is a stressful business. Constant deadlines, breaking news and a host of other factors contribute to the pressures of the businesses. So our students get a double-whammy.
It was a great chance to talk about the signs of stress – loss of sleep, over/under eating, distracted, over-drinking and so forth. While those may seem pretty standard for any student, these patters become worse when facing stress.
We talked about time management being a great tool for stress management. Organization, discipline and focus were also topics for discussion. Then, there was the compartmentalization of life. When at school, be at school. Let go of what is going on in the personal aspects of your world, so you can focus on what is in front of you. Get stuff done in class. When you have a few moments or get lab time, use it to get work done, rather than goofing off. That way, when you go home, you can leave school behind to focus on what is there.
Also, it is vital to make time to relax, period. Forget everything. Chill.
This is great advice coming from a guy who spent most of his career overworking, overeating, barely sleeping and a propensity for enjoying beer.
Sadly, the message came home way too late for me. After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes more than a decade ago, suffering from arthritis, bad back and a list way too long to write out, I have no choice but to look after myself these days. My life depends on it, now.
As the list of ailments continues to grow, along with the gang of specialists needed to take care of them, I realize the error of my ways.
So in the spirit of Movember, I urge all my students to take care of themselves.
Think of yourself like a garden. If you tend to the weeds a bit each week, then it is not a lot of work and it stays beautiful for a very long time. Fail to take care, and the weeds take over very quickly. And, before you know it, the beds are a shambles and the work to get them back to a lovely state is far more.
Sure, you are resilient today. But things change.
Movember is meant to help us remember the importance of looking after each other and ourselves.