Pleasantly Frustrating

I heard the saying, Pleasantly Frustrating, the other day in class in reference to the level students should learn. Research shows that students should be presented with tasks that are slightly outside of their comfort zone (zone of proximal development for you education people reading) for optimal learning to take place. Thus the task should feel challenging, but not impossible which will lead them to feel pleasantly frustrated by the learning process.

It all got me thinking of grad school and whether I’m pleasantly frustrated. If you asked me last week I would have chucked a book at your head and told you to go shove something incredibly painful up your ass. I was more cripplingly frustrated. Right now, I’m more comfortably frustrated. I’ve become complacent with the constant level of stress in my life. But throw a wrench in the mix and that’s when you get me ALL out of whack.

But I wasn’t always experiencing such a stressful life. Like for instance, in this photo I’m in Year 1 of grad school dancing away, loving life.

(Side note: this photo also makes me realize I need to make an appointment and get my highlights touched up, they look good here). But anyways I was happy, and the perpetual bags under my eyes haven’t made their way to my appearance yet.

Now fast forward to 3 years later and here is where you find me spending 80% of my time.

Hair in a ponytail, scarf, and a perfectly mismatched outfit (I think I even had striped pajama pants on too) probably running statistics and trying to find some obscure reference to cite in a paper. And sadly I wore part of this outfit combination to a doctor’s appointment that morning, which the doctor lovingly told me I need to “relax” and “breathe” and my physical symptoms will go away. Even better part of that appointment was when I told her what I was going to school for and she actually laughed out loud in my face, and said “Oh well you should know exactly why you’re feeling stressed!” Ha. ha. ha. Funny therapist joke, do they teach you those in med school?

I know the craziness will eventually die down and be replaced by stress that at least comes with a pay check. And for the time being I try to find other ways become pleasantly frustrated by doing things like spinning, cooking, drinking a good glass of wine, laughing so hard my eyes are watering, watching the Real Housewives of Wherever, and going out to dinner with a fabulous man 🙂

So I ask you lovely readers, help a girl out and share with me your best way to de-stress?

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8 Responses to Pleasantly Frustrating

  1. Christina Opsasnick says:

    First, let me just say that I love your blog! You probably didn’t even know that I read it, but I’m sneaky like that. Now just be prepared for me chiming in…

    The other day I realized that all I really do during the week is sleep/commute to work by car, foot and train 3hrs every day/come home completely exhausted watch tv and go to bed. The other day I decided to turn off all electronics when I got home, take out my new Real Simple magazine, cuddle up on the couch (since it’s now freezing here on the east coast), light some candles (auto de-stresser), pour a glass of wine and just relax. It worked! I didn’t feel like a zombie wasting away time in front of the TV. I read Real Simple imagining how I’m going to organize my life and make some awesome recipes. I might not end up doing anything that the magazine recommended but at least for that short moment I could truly relax.

    Now I know this isn’t some amazing idea, and most people aren’t addicted to crappy reality tv like I am (I also enjoy real housewives of wherever) and constantly having their phone around and computer on, but it was different for me, and definitely a good change.

    (This post was not paid for by Real Simple Magazine)

    • Thanks so much Teeny! (btw do people still call you that?) I totally used your tips today and they definitely helped put me in a good mood, something about candles and avoiding my computer/tv helps. Miss you!

  2. Sarah says:

    Ugh, I was the worst at this when I was finishing my masters. My poor husband would try to help by taking me out to dinner but then I would stress out the time away from my computer and the money spent. I would definitely think about how you recharge (according to MB I’m an introvert so I recharge by having myself alone time) and focus on those types of activities. I would take long walks and spend some time alone taking deep breaths. If you’re an extrovert, plan fun activities (that don’t cost money – dinner parties, perhaps!) and get yourself recharged that way.

    Education is the worst!

  3. Kristin says:

    i know! look cute & go wine & cupcake tasting with your fabulous friends 🙂

  4. Definitely agree with a comment above about “walking away” for a little while. I know how time consuming grad school can be, but I always felt it necessary to try and get away for 45 minutes or so- whether it be a run or a walk or even just a decent stretch while watching tv for a bit…. I just felt like my brain needed a break!

  5. Pingback: I ain’t no Martha Stewart | The Morningstar Project

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