There’s no question about it: graduate school is demanding! Sometimes 24 hours doesn’t seem like enough time to work and get rest, and yet we push through our days and nights trying to accomplish all that we can. I talk a lot about balance and self-care because it is such an important topic. It’s a constant work in progress and we all have various ways to care for ourselves, which is awesome.
I use to think that it was okay to be constantly busy because that meant I was productive and achieving a lot. While part of that may be true – doing a lot was productive and I accomplished several goals, the other part of it was not true. I did not have to be constantly busy. I could balance out my responsibilities and self care and still be very successful, productive, and achieve a lot. Imagine that! I’ve been hearing those around me talk about being anxious to graduate so they can “start living.” My question is why do we have to wait until then? Why can’t we start living now?
I don’t always do a good job of maintaining balance, but I always make an effort. I feel much better when I have something else to look forward to besides journal articles and textbooks and teaching-assistant duties. I think of my self care practices as a form of reward for my hard work, and by having these mini rewards, I stay balanced.
If you aren’t sure how you can maintain balance during grad school, here are a few suggestions that I have based on what I practice. Take what works for you and leave the rest. And, as always, please share any of your tips here too!
I find time to enjoy nature. When we are so busy, it’s difficult to appreciate the small things around us. I especially enjoy seeing the sunrise. There’s something very spiritual and peaceful about the sunrise and I try to enjoy it as often as I can.
Explore other places. When the time permits, I enjoy taking a drive out to the beach. It’s fun, relaxing, and re-charging.
I usually go to a cafe to study, and other times, I go to a cafe just to enjoy some good tea and maybe color or read something for fun. I recently started reading fictional novels and can’t believe how great it is to escape into a story that has nothing to do with my career path or self-help. When I read The Other Typist, I couldn’t put the book down! It was also nice to look forward to reading this novel at the end of a busy day. Tonight, I will start The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. I read good reviews about the book, so hopefully I won’t be disappointed.
I also enjoyed going to a painting class (see my picture at the beginning of the post!) It was a lot of fun and so relaxing! I plan to go to more of those painting classes as a way to break up my routine and incorporate my creative side into my life-balancing-act.
For this week, think about ways you can maintain a healthy balance in your busy schedule. Even if it means taking one hour of your day or one day (or even half day) from your week to do something fun, creative, or relaxing that will help you to keep up your well-being.
“Being truly happy in life involves you feeling more in control of the direction your life is going.”
― Deborah Day