I have been mulling over this present post for a while now, but had relegated it to the back of my mind wardrobe as more pressing academic conundrums took the forefront. I finally took a breather this morning, and decided to go back to any incomplete blog posts to finish up and publish. What I found was an empty Google Doc with just this title: Say Yes to the De-Stress. I laughed. Did I really come up with this? How clever!
But really, this experience is case in point for what I want to talk about today.
One of the first bits of advice I got was from my GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant) during Welcome Week: Say yes to everything! There are so many social events, talks, networking opportunities, trips around London, etc. etc. etc. etc…
And she wasn’t wrong. There is so much to do. This past week, I only came home to sleep. And I loved it.
But it’s taxing to be living outside your comfort zone all the time. So I decided to put together a few tips for those that are trying to live a full life, sanity intact:
- Do say yes. But say YES to those things that enrich you. This year is really not the time to compromise, because there are simply a 1000 other things you could be doing with your time (see cool, poetic bit in my previous post).
- Try to say yes to different things. Don’t just go to all the public lectures, or all the networking events, or all the clubs/society events. Mix it up a bit. One of my professors for Societal Psychology (the particular topic being cultural evolutionary theory) talked about how exposure to many people and ideas makes us this hub for idea recombination — i.e., you could come up with novel ideas just by engaging with different people and their ideas! Aren’t brains cool?
- Take. A. Break. I know there are a million things to do, and you only have one year to do them all, but you cannot do everything if you yourself are not a 100%. I have had weeks where food and sleep were just coincidences, not priorities, and I can confidently say I was only functioning at 60%. You have to make them priorities so you can have the energy to fully participate in things you are excited about!
- In the same vein as 3), engage in self care. There is a student campaign at LSE called Self Care Aware that promotes healthy self care behaviours, so try and participate in this! You can check them out on Twitter.
- Yes, I recognize the irony of telling you to attend more events in order to help you manage all the events you are attending. But this is important!
- I don’t really have anything else, but I thought 5 would be a wholesome number of tips. Actually, I just thought of one! Take some time to indulge in guilty pleasures, whether it’s TV shows, books, baking, or art. Mine is writing, and I often feel guilty for putting aside academic writing to write for myself. But I also recognize this is my time for growth and reflection, and feeling renewed will ultimately help me do all the things I have to do better.
Finally, it’s important to accept that this period of time will be overstimulating, which makes it even more essential to prioritise your own health and well-being. Do push yourself, but also, care for yourself.
Readers, if you have any tips/strategies of your own, feel free to share in the comments!