Tag Archives: self care

8 Habits That Make Millennials Stressed, Anxious, and Unproductive

Article originally posted on Forbes.com by Caroline Beaton


“According to the American Psychological Association (APA), millennials experience more stress and are less able to manage it than any other generation. More than half of us admit to having lain awake at night during the past month from stress.

“Not surprisingly, millennials are also more anxious than older Americans. The APA reports that 12% of millennials have a diagnosed anxiety disorder—almost twice the percentage of Boomers. On a non-clinical scale, a BDA Morneau Shepell white paper discovered that 30% of working millennials have general anxiety, while a 2014 American College Health Association (ACHA) assessment found that anxiety regularly afflicts 61% of college students.

“Anxiety not only harms our wellbeing but also sabotages our productivity. The ACHA assessment found that the top two tolls on students’ academic performance were stress and anxiety. Two-thirds of millennials interviewed by BDA  attribute declining work performance to anxiety.

“Sources of millennial anxiety may include a tough job market and student debt as well as psychological causes I’ve covered previously such as ambition addiction, career crises and choice-overload. But even our day-to-day behaviors can incite anxiety.”

Finish the story!

Head to Forbes.com to read the full article on eight common habits that instigate stress and compromise our potential.

Year-by-Year Self-Care for Graduate Students: Part 4 of 4

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment of a four-part series written by doctoral student David Jeffries. View part 1, dedicated to the first-year graduate school experience, part 2, dedicated to the second year, and part 3, dedicated to the third year.

mortarboardStart your fourth year in the summer.

The summer between your third and fourth year is a good time to assess where you are in accordance with the trusty handbook you took the time to read and get to know in the earlier years of your graduate program (see part one). By this point it is likely that you are approaching a period where you may advance to candidacy (!) so checking in with program expectations can be a good idea throughout this year.

During the summer between your third and fourth year, talk through concerns around your graduation timetable and your funding with your advisor. Regardless of what relationship you have with your advisor, by this point in your graduate work you undoubtedly have been communicating with faculty. Continue to do so in a way that serves your programmatic interests and highlights your accomplishments. By having these conversations with faculty, and reviewing what is left for you to tackle before your fourth year starts, you can re-establish a commitment to your doctoral program, while also recommitting to a sense of self-preservation and self-care by looking out for new opportunities.

To recap, in your rising fourth-year summer, look towards your dissertation, look into funding for future years, and consider your timetable.

As you become a more seasoned graduate student, you'll know when to step away from your work. (Source: "Studies" by Flickr user lindztrom. Some rights reserved.)

As you become a more seasoned graduate student, you’ll know when and how to step away from your work. (Source: “Studies” by Flickr user lindztrom. Some rights reserved.)

Treat graduate school like a job.

By the time you begin your fourth year it is likely that the majority of your coursework is behind you. This likens you more to that of a professional with a 9-to-5 schedule. To that end, care for yourself by beginning to increasingly treat graduate school like a job. This means you can make it your priority to set up times when you do work, and times when you absolutely do not work. In earlier years your schedule may fluctuate too much or rely on late hours of studying, but with most of your coursework out of the way, it is time to recommit yourself to setting limits.

With most of your coursework out of the way, it is time to recommit yourself to setting limits.

When you go into your lab or office at the start of a day, have a plan. In realizing that plan, take purposeful breaks and work efficiently. Once the evening comes around, however, give yourself permission to leave your work at work. Go home or go out, but either way do not convince yourself that you can or should be working all the time.

More seasoned graduate students often confess that doctoral programs become easier once they become more comfortable with the truth of always having a to-do list that never really gets done. The key is, that is totally okay. Like someone with a 40-week job, graduate students will always have more than 40 hours worth of work to do. So do what you can, when you can, but do not lose sight that this is a choice you’ve made in pursuit of your own future happiness.

If working too hard causes your doctoral program to become a source of consistent discontent, it is important to be able to reflect on what you can change in the service of being happier. Always commit to things that are in your best interest, and leave your work at work!

What rights can psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

Graduate Students Have Rights. APAGS Just Spelled Them Out.

What rights should psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

What rights should psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a graduate student in psychology discuss aspects of their training or education that seemed inequitable, I could pay back all my loans.

Too often in graduate school, students come across situations in which they believe their rights have been infringed upon in some way. When this occurs, many students feel at a loss for how to advocate for themselves and what they can or should be able to reasonably advocate for. The result for many students is dissatisfaction, frustration, and occasionally leaving a training program or experience.

The APAGS Committee has honed in on this student concern over the past year and opted to move forward with creating a student “bill of rights.” This was a very detailed process that included a literature review of various student right documents from across the world, drafting lists of rights based on this literature and our own experiences, and completing many revisions with input from APAGS leaders and many outside resources.

At long last, the APAGS Committee voted in December to approve a document titled, “Position Statement on the Rights of Psychology Graduate Students.” The Committee is planning to distribute these rights across various platforms and to a variety of constituents. The Committee is even considering bringing the document to APA’s Council of Representatives for consideration as an official policy document! That’s a huge step, and we will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we hope that students, programs, and other interested parties can use this document to their benefit. Use it to advocate for your own rights and thereby create a program or training experience of the highest caliber. If you have other ideas and reactions, we would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

Here now is the text of our position statement, which is also available on our website.

Position Statement on the Rights of Psychology Graduate Students


The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) deems the rights described in this document to be indispensable to the fair, equitable and respectful treatment of every psychology graduate student throughout their education and training. The protection of these rights fosters the highest quality graduate training experience. APAGS considers these rights essential, not aspirational, and we urge graduate programs to implement these rights in their unique settings and training environments. We encourage current and prospective students to utilize these rights in making informed graduate program selections and in advocating for themselves as issues arise.

1. Institutional Environment

1.1 Right to respectful treatment by faculty members, colleagues, staff, and peers.

1.2 Right to have professional and personal information handled in a sensitive and respectful manner such that personal information is only disclosed when it is deemed necessary for educational or training purposes, and that students are informed prior to any such disclosure (See Ethical Standard 7.04).

1.3 Right to affordable insurance inclusive of health, vision, dental, and mental health care coverage.

2. Program Policies

2.1 Right to publicly available, accurate, and up-to-date descriptions of costs, the availability of financial support, and the likelihood of ongoing support throughout training (e.g., percent of students with full and partial financial support during year one, year two, etc.; available funding options), to be provided prior to or immediately following the program’s interviews for prospective students (See Ethical Standard 7.02).

2.2 Right to accurate and up-to-date information from research advisors and thesis/dissertation committee members on professional factors that could impact student training, career development, and timely program completion.

2.3 Right to access and exercise formal written policies regarding leave and accommodations as they pertain to pregnancy, parenting/caregiving, bereavement, medical or mental illness, and disability.

2.4 Right to access and exercise formal written policies and procedures regarding academic and placement/internship requirements, administrative procedures, evaluation, advisement, retention, average “time to degree,” and termination (See Ethical Standard 7.02).

2.5 Right to express opinions and have representation on campus committees relevant to professional development, with voting privileges where appropriate.

2.6 Right to exemption from new graduation or program requirements, developed after admission, that might result in a delay of graduation.

3. Professional and Educational Training Opportunities

3.1 Right to appropriate professional training (e.g., teaching, research, clinical practice) in the current standards and practices of the discipline and specialty area (See Ethical Standard 7.01).

3.2 Right to be evaluated by faculty consistent with current ethical practices in employment, progression through the program, and grading, solely on the basis of academic performance, professional qualifications, and/or conduct (See Ethical Standard 7.06).

3.3 Right to quality mentorship.

3.4 Right to change advisors and committee members for professional and personal needs.

3.5 Right to receive timely, ongoing feedback on all areas of trainee competency and the opportunity to address growth areas with support from faculty.

3.6 Right to co-authorship in publications when the student has made significant contributions of ideas or research work (See Ethical Standards 8.11 and 8.12 a-c).

3.7 Right to freely communicate and collaborate with other academic colleagues.

3.8 Right to lead, assemble, and participate in organizations and activities outside the academic program.

3.9 Right to engage in self care as a routine practice throughout training (See Ethical Standards 3.05 and 3.06).

4. Work Environment

4.1 Right to fair compensation for services provided during training (e.g., graduate, teaching, and research assistantships).

4.2 Right for students providing services during training (e.g., teaching, research, clinical, and administrative graduate assistantships) to enjoy the recognitions, rights, privileges, and protections afforded to employees under state, provincial, territorial, and national labor laws.

4.3 Right to study and work in an environment free of exploitation, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination based on one’s student status, race, ethnicity, skin color, national origin, religion, political beliefs, economic status, age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy or parental status, disability, medical or mental health conditions, ancestry, citizenship, military veteran status, or any other identity salient to the individual in admissions and throughout education, employment, and placement (See Principle E and Ethical Standards 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 3.08).

4.4 Right to work under clearly expressed and mutually agreed-upon job descriptions and work or training conditions.

4.5 Right to perform only those tasks that relate to academic program requirements, professional development, and/or job duties.

4.6 Right to provide constructive and professional feedback to supervisors, directors, administrators, and staff concerning the quality and content of supervision

5. Appeals and Grievances

5.1 Right to clearly defined official grievance procedures and informal complaint procedures.

5.2 Right to whistleblower protection for exposing professional, ethical, or legal violations (See Ethical Standard 1.08).

5.3 Right to due process for any accusation of violation or infraction.

5.4 Right to be free of reprisals for exercising the rights contained in this document (See Ethical Standard 1.08).

Me: I'm so busy! You: Me too! Repeat ad nauseam

New Year’s Resolution: Stop Saying “I’m Busy”

Me: I'm so busy! You: Me too! Repeat ad nauseam

College, graduate school, and just about any time thereafter is remarkably eventful. We are pressed to do so many things just to stay in place. Usually quite innocently, when people ask how we are, we respond with some variation of “I’m really busy.”  When they ask us the next time, we’re are likely to repeat the same exact thing.

What is up with this glorification of being busy? Is it like talking about the weather in that it makes for a conversation filler? What if it is actually a conversation killer.

Some time ago, blogger Tyler Ward argued in this clever piece that our little over-used phrase leads nowhere good, and it doesn’t make us that special. He describes how one couple  decided to stop using the word “busy” for one entire year. The finding?

“We were forced to describe our own situations with more clarity, and without our best friend ‘busy’ to blame, we engaged with people more authentically. As we did, we noticed the general depth of conversations increase as we and those we were sharing with, were invited to communicate differently about our actual states of being.”

In his post, “Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymore” you can explore other compelling reasons to avoid communicating your busyness with the world.

Be sure to share your thoughts and reactions in the comment section. I’d love to hear reactions you get to saying or hearing “I’m really busy” – and ways to substitute the phrase with something better.

As the calendar just turned over to 2016, it’s as good of a time as any to try something new.

House Freud 2

What’s Your House in Psychology Game of Thrones?

The fifth season of Game of Thrones recently ended, and I’m going through withdrawal. Then I started thinking, what if psychology were like Game of Thrones? For those of you who don’t know the show, here’s a quick summary. Set in a medieval, magical world, there is a land called Westeros where there are 7 Great Houses that were principalities now united into one kingdom. These houses have regional power over smaller (less powerful) houses in their area. The king of this world sits on the Iron Throne (a throne made of swords). In the book series and the show, the death of one king has led to an ongoing civil war with different leaders fighting to succeed him. Each House is run by a family (which gives the house its name) and has a sigil, a flag which includes a symbol and a saying. My favorite house is House Stark, which has a direwolf as its symbol and its saying is “Winter is coming”.

I started thinking what would Game of Thrones set in a psychology world look like? I started thinking of which psychologists might lead powerful houses and what might their slogan be. Here’s what I ended up with:

House Freud 2House SkinnerHouse AinsworthHouse Bandura SigilHouse Rogers SigilHouse Sue SigilJoinTheRealm_sigil

 What house would you be in? If your preferred house is not listed, take a moment to create a sigil and think of a funny slogan for your house. You can make a sigil at this link and post it in the comments!