A Guide to Taking it Easy

Having faced what has probably been the busiest December of my life to date, I can’t help but admit that I’m a teensy weensy bit tired. Actually, I lie, I’m exhausted. So as I was finishing things up for this year and planning some well deserved days off I got to thinking about just how important taking the time to sit back and recharge is.

When you're rested and relaxed, even hard work is easier.

Listening to lecturers, colleagues, career gurus and whatnots inadvertently makes me a little nervous. Somehow many of us are being pushed to think we should have finished 10 internships, entered 30 competitions and climbed mount Kilimanjaro with orphans strapped to our backs in the past month, all the while doing our coursework well and on time. If we don’t we’ll never get a job. Ever.

Well, let me tell you something. Taking time for yourself is important.  Book a day where you don’t have anything booked. Nothing. No work, no meetings, no email answering, no socialising. When that glorious day comes, sleep in to your best ability. And then do whatever you want, if that’s watching your favourite good bad TV, movies or deciding you want to just call up some people and hang out, the point is you do it then just because you feel like it, not because you planned it a week in advance. Indulge in your hobbies. Go for a long walk. Go hiking. Make that day your “happy space” where all the troubles of work and academia don’t exist.

People often forget that taking a mental break is just as important (if not more) as a physical break these days. You need to take time to disconnect, reflect and regroup.

I often find that when I haven’t had a break like that in a while the quality of my work suffers greatly. My writing generally turns to faeces (figuratively, of course) and I just can’t generate any ideas that I’d be happy with. I’m more scatterbrained and as a result frustrated and irritable.Yes, internships and competitions are hard work, but there’s little point in doing them if you’re only running at 50%.

Also remember, whatever you do, you are NOT allowed to feel guilty for what you’re not doing!

So as I’m writing this in jolly ol’ December and exercising the luxury of telling people to call me next year if they want something I give you these immensely deep words of advice:

Rest. It’s good for you. And dear lord it feels good.

Take care and all the best in 2012!

Your faithful blogging couch potato, formerly known as Marta

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