This week we asked a real mom we admire to contribute to our newsletter with some tips on how she manages to do it all with aplomb.
My name is Asia Bright and I am a doctoral candidate at Georgia State University, where I study molecular genetics and biochemistry. As a Ph.D. candidate, I also work as a teaching assistant, graduate research assistant, and writing consultant. Those on campus jobs are how I get a tuition waiver, which helps supplement my student fees, however, I have to work part-time as a server in order to make money for my basic living necessities. I am also the mother of a pretty cool 6-year-old boy named Kalel, which is my favorite job of the many that I have. That being said, I have a lot on my plate and it has taken me several years of emotional roller coasters, as well as trail and error, to figure out a system to manage everything that I have going.
On fear of failure: I definitely have a fear of failing but I have learned to turn that fear of failure into a motivator. Failing at anything instantly reminds me of what I didn't have as a child, the thought of losing everything and starting back at square one is enough for me want to make sure that I don’t.
On realizing she needed to take better care of herself: An accumulation of small moments forced me to realize that I needed to do a better job of taking care of myself if I wanted to continue to succeed. The most pivotal moment, where I realized I needed to do a better job of taking care of my mental health, was the day Kalel came into to my bedroom and asked me why I slept so much. He had began to notice the toll my depression was taking on me, which subsequently motivated me to keep myself healthy; physically and mentally.
Best advice to someone feeling overwhelmed: If I could give advice to someone who was also feeling overwhelmed by all of their responsibilities, the first piece of advice that I would give them is to start with a support group. Find a group of people facing similar challenges where you can candidly discuss obstacles in your way. You'll find out several things: 1. There are at least two, if not more, people who are facing similar challenges. 2. There are a plethora of options available to you. 3. You don't have to do it all.
*Make sure the group you join is contracted to privacy rules if you feel uncomfortable sharing with strangers.
Best de-stress activity: Winding down by binging watching a good TV series, The Walking Dead is one of my favorites.
Comfort food: Chocolate Chip Cookies and Soy Milk.
Go-to tool for success: Day Designer Planner. Using a planner/organizer to block schedule everything in my life has made a major difference in keeping me on track and organized. I schedule every moment of my day, down to the minute and I make sure to keep to that schedule.
Tip for getting work done: Find a good cafe that you like and make that your go-to spot for getting work accomplished. Eventually your brain will associate it with getting things done and you will find it easy to feel motivated the moment you sit down there.
Tips to someone trying to find balance: Utilize resources. Life balance is an active concept (never ending), just like balancing plates on a stick. I constantly have to remind myself that I can ask for help. I can turn to friends and family when needed, I can go to the doctor, I can go to counseling, and I can talk to my mentors. I think it’s important to remember that we are surrounded by people who want to help us, because when you look at all of your obstacles and feel overwhelmed, it becomes extremely easy to feel like you’re struggling by yourself. It’s important not to forget that you don't have to do it alone.
Lastly, don't forget to always take a few seconds to just breathe,