Hello there bloggies! Welcome to this week’s edition of Trainee Tuesday.

If you are currently or have been a trainee in science, you have certainly felt overwhelmed at times (or all the time…). There is an endless stream of experiments/analyses as well as an ever-increasing amount of material to not only learn, but master and talk intelligently about. That doesn’t even take into account life things like relationships, friends, and life’s little curveballs (like the work my car now needs after this past weekend…grrr).

We are all overwhelmed. Here are some things I have found useful to get past these feelings and try to remain not only productive but happy.

-Make two different to-do lists

To-do lists are double-edged swords: they help organize and prioritize your life, but they can stress you out beyond believe (especially when they go on for pages and pages). So, I try to make two lists. One is a list of long term lists of projects and things I want to get done. This list is usually vague and represents bigger, more global things I want to accomplish. The second list has short term goals like email this collaborator and run this specific analysis. I find this keeps me on task of things I should accomplish this week while keeping all of my work in context of the bigger picture.

-Discuss with your co-workers and boss

Your co-workers, peers, and boss in lab are hopefully on your side. Your success equals success for them and the entire lab. They also have experience juggling way too many projects and life. Ask them how they balance certain things. They will have pointers for making progress in your projects and to stay productive. It can always be a great way to delegate work and work as a unit.

-Support system

Outside of your lab, you need a support system to lift you up in those tough times. Sometimes, all you need is a wine-filled venting session with other trainees to cure your stress. They are all stressed and overwhelmed too, and can lend a supportive ear to you (make sure to return the favor!). Sometimes, you need to just get away from science and people who do science. Have a nice dinner with a friend or your partner. It’ll rejuvenate you.

-Take a break

In that same vein, sometimes taking a break from work is the best way to stop feeling overwhelmed. Go for a run, grab some coffee, see a movie, whatever floats your boat. It will take your mind off of things for a brief moment in time and help get yourself in a better mind space. Take a breath trainee!

-Have an internal pep talk and strengthen up buddy

Let’s face it, we all love to complain and whine sometimes. But, you cannot let yourself get in an inescapable vortex of complaining and negativity. Stop yourself from just thinking this, and give yourself a mini-internal pep talk. Be strong and take care of your shit!

Thank you all for stopping by this episode of Trainee Tuesday. Take a breath if you feel overwhelmed. You aren’t alone and can get past it. How do you all get over feeling overwhelmed? Comment below of on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

See you all later!

-Dr. F

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