Giving Yourself Permission

As graduate students we set the bar pretty high for ourselves. We engage in projects, have part time jobs, full-time jobs, families, research projects and too many deadlines to count. Things can get pretty hectic and we may feel guilty about that one hour we spent just lying around staring into space doing absolutely nothing.

Let’s talk about that.

I believe it’s okay to give yourself permission to have that one hour,or two, or six to just relax and do nothing. Be mindless. Eat popcorn and watch funny movies. Go to the beach. Sleep. Whatever you want. You deserve it because you work really hard.

During the start of my second year, I decided to try a new self-care strategy: I decided to take one day a week to myself. Crazy, I know. A whole day! I must say it was probably one of the best decisions I have made.  There was something about having that extra day that made it seem okay to work harder during the week. At first, my day off was Sunday, then it changed to Friday and I’ve kept that day. However, I am also flexible with that day off.  Sometimes things happen beyond our control, and when I have those crazy weeks, I am okay with adjusting the day I take off.  I try to stick to this every week to avoid going 7 days without a break.

By giving myself permission to take time off, I am respecting the fact that I am a hard worker that deserves a reward. I am also respecting my body’s need for time to rejuvenate.  I like to think of it this way: if the gas tank on my car reads “E” and I don’t get to the gas station to refill, my car won’t work. The longer I take to put gas in, my car may start to deteriorate due to lack of use. It’s the same with our bodies. If we don’t re-fuel by taking time for rest, we get sick, exhausted and unable to function. Eventually, if we continue for too long without taking rest, we may end up in the hospital. No one wants that.

This week, think about what you can give yourself permission to do.

“You must make time daily to care for your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita

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