Making the “Impossible” Possible

Dec 17 2014

One of the concerns we hear most from potential Douglas J students is that they’re afraid to take the leap and attend cosmetology or esthiology school because of other responsibilities. Whether they are employed, have family, or other obligations, some applicants sabotage their own success and opt out of enrolling because they assume they can’t manage their workload on top of everything else.

Our response is always the same: Never let fear guide your decisions. Many Douglas J Aveda Institute students work full- or part-time in addition to taking classes here. Some have children or other family who rely on them. We’re in awe of these rockstar students — we know it’s anything but easy on them — but they have proven time and again that it is possible. Some of our most outstanding students every year have major responsibilities on top of their Douglas J schedule.

Because balancing work, school, and trying to have a social life can seem overwhelming, we want to offer some tips for making the seemingly impossible … well, slightly less terrifying.

Get Organized

When juggling work, school and other responsibilities, effective time management is your biggest ally. It’s never been easier to find organization tools that work well for frazzled students — in the form of apps like Teux Deux, Things and Carrot. (Carrot actually makes work fun, by turning your to-do list into a game). These help ensure that nothing falls off your radar. Google Calendar and iCal are great for keeping your schedule hyper-organized. More of a paper person? We’re seriously smitten with Erin Condren planners.

Make Time for Calm

If you want to be productive, happy, and successful in the long term, creating time for breaks and stress-relieving activities is imperative. Are you kidding? we can hear you say. Take a break? I barely have enough time to take a shower! But according to the New York Times, Scientific American, and a slew of other research, taking mental breaks from the grind is the key to recharging your batteries, boosting productivity, and managing stress. Think about it this way: if taking a brisk walk prevents you from making mistakes that throw you off course, affect your work, or force you to re-do things, then taking that 30-minute walk now can save you a couple of hours later.

Find a form of exercise that you find not only tolerable, but enjoyable. It can be done. Make time to grab coffee with a friend. Treat yourself to a massage, a cool new jacket, or a decadent dessert. If you only have 10 minutes, rub some Aveda Stress-Fix™ Concentrate over those pulse points and make it a point to sit outside and switch off your brain. Schedule time for these activities so that they become just as much of a habit as your work. You don’t just deserve it — you need it.

Find the Good

Sometimes, life feels unmanageable. We’ve all been there, and we understand if you succumb to the gloom every now and then. We’re much better off, however, when we make a conscious choice to be happy — even when it feels impossible. We love the #100happydays challenge on Instagram and recommend you give it a try. Studies show that people who practice gratitude and seek joy find themselves feeling more optimistic and less stressed, exercising more, and paying fewer visits to doctors.

Laugh a Little (Or A Lot)

Research suggests that laughter can help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, so consider using your afternoon break to browse hilarious YouTube videos, scroll through The Onion, or call your funniest friend. Alternately, consider this permission to indulge in 22 minutes of Netflix — just resist the allure of the “Next Episode” button.

Don’t Be a Hero, a Martyr, or Britney

Know your limitations. Being realistic about what you can and cannot do will prevent you from believing you have the superhuman ability to bend time and space, and agree to take on more than you can manage. In the same vein, don’t be afraid to tell others “no” when they ask you for time or energy that you just don’t have. If you don’t tell people you’re overextended, they will assume you’re not. Be open about how much you have going on. If you act like everything’s fine all the time, nobody will know you’re at your breaking point until you snap and go full ‘07 Britney Spears.

Be Flexible And Be Kind (To Yourself)

Here’s the secret: no one actually ever reaches the end of that to-do list. You check off one thing off and something else generates in its place. Not being able to accomplish everything you’d like in your ideal time frame doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it just means you’re human. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Keep your schedule as flexible as possible so that when things pop up, as they inevitably do (whether those things are family emergencies or Beyoncé tickets), you can do some quick re-arranging to get your work done.

Take a Deep Breath

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, here’s a simple trick everyone can make time for: take 10 deep breaths. Short, shallow breaths are not only symptoms of stress and anxiety, but they also aggravate their effects. Lengthening your breathing lets your brain and body know it’s okay to slow down and relax.

Remember Why You’re Doing This …

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that being in school is the fulfillment of one dream and the promise of another. Keep your end game in mind and think of how amazing it will be to finally get there. Imagine the career and the life that this all will lead you to. Try creating a vision board to keep your dreams and goals (literally) in sight. If your idea of crafty is rearranging the throw pillows on your couch, just remember: that’s what Pinterest is for.

…But Remember It’s About the Process

Believe it or not, happiness isn’t always getting what you want. Reverse the idea that success equals happiness. As soon as you achieve one goal, you’ll set another one — because that’s the kind of person you are. That’s how you landed yourself with this crazy schedule in the first place. Instead, seek out your day-to-day happiness in moments that pop up along the way. They always do!

The habits you put in place today are the same ones that will drive you to becoming tops in your career. It’s true that balancing school, work, family and other responsibilities is anything but easy — and it’s also true that nothing worth having has ever come easy. Our Student Resources department is here to help you manage your schedule, figure out the problems that might seem impossible, and guide you from a stressed-out student to a confident Douglas J graduate.

All photos are property of Douglas J.