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stressful internship

Image Credit: NYU Local

Transitioning from college student to young professional can be a stressful experience, especially if your internship is demanding and time-consuming.

There are some incredibly important coping skills you should have under your belt when entering your high-stress internship. From different time management activities you can implement to listening to your personal needs, it’s essential to relieve the stress from your internship.

Recently, Moritz Erhardt, a highly-driven and over-achieving Bank of America intern, died after working under intense conditions that consisted of long hours and highly stressful work assignments. Unfortunately, because of the stressful nature of his internship, Erhardt couldn’t escape the overwhelming pressure to succeed.

The type of stress you can encounter during an internship is much different than any other type of stress you’ve experienced throughout your college career. This is because, during an internship, you are forced to adapt to a professional work environment that consists of strict deadlines and interaction with all levels of employees and management.

Some internships are stressful by nature, just like some jobs and careers. While sometimes there’s no escaping the stress, there are coping skills you can obtain to help relieve stress from your internship. To successfully manage your stress, you need to apply the right techniques to help you deal with tough assignments and deadlines.

If you’re worried about coping with the stress of your internship, here are five useful coping skills you can implement during your internship:

1. Listen to your body and understand the signs of stress.

One of the most important coping skills you can have for managing a stressful internship is listening to what your body is telling you on a daily basis. If you begin to feel like you’re in a constant state of fatigue or sleepiness, this could be a sign of sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and being worn down from your work. During your internship, try to sleep at least seven hours each night and make time to unwind every week. Even if unwinding means spending an hour or two over the weekend reading a book or doing an activity you love, your body needs this time to recover from the stress of your internship. When you pay attention to your body, you will be able to prevent yourself from becoming fatigued or even ill from your work.

2. Unplug from technology and social media.

There are several helpful time management activities you can do to reduce stress and improve productivity in the workplace. One of those activities includes unplugging from technology and social media. If you find yourself checking your phone or browsing the Internet every 15 minutes, this could definitely be slowing down your work and, in turn, increasing your stress. By reducing the amount of technology you use from your workspace during your internship, you’ll discover how much more productive and less overwhelmed you’ll be when implementing this technique as one of your time management activities.

3. Take short breaks from your work throughout the day.

By taking short breaks throughout the day, you will be able to feel more focused and decrease your stress at work. Whether it’s taking five minutes to hang out in the break room or stepping outside for fresh air, these five minutes can give you time to refresh your mind. If you can’t leave your desk, take a short break to look away from your computer and phone and focus on reading a magazine or looking out the window for a few minutes. When you do this, you are able to reduce the strain on your mind and eyes and can come back to your work feeling refreshed. Implementing these types of coping skills when you’re feeling stressed can definitely serve as a useful way to reduce your stress at work.

4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Regardless of how demanding your internship is, you’d be surprised at the many different ways you can maintain a healthy lifestyle while managing your stressful internship. Creating healthy habits such as packing a lunch or taking a 15 minute walk each day can definitely have a positive impact on managing the stress from your internship. These time management activities are easy to implement and will help you feel happier and reduce stress from your life.

5. Speak up to your supervisor. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your work load, don’t be afraid to speak up to your supervisor. Although you may feel intimidated or worried at first about asking for a lighter load, your supervisor will be glad you approached them about creating a workload that you can manage. When you do this, you will be able to manage your work and reduce your stress. Plus, you will be able to perform with more efficiency.

The moment you begin to feel your stress becoming unmanageable during your internship, you should definitely implement these different coping skills and time management activities. Working as an intern is much different than working as a full-time employee because not only do you have the stress of learning new skills, but also you have the intense pressure to go above and beyond to impress your supervisor. By following these tips and listening to your personal needs, you will be able to better manage your stress, increase your productivity, and become a superstar intern!

What time management activities do you recommend for interns working under stressful conditions?

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