We're a little crazy, about science!

Day #103: A day off…

relaxing

I’ve got a lot going on, but today is a day off. It’s important to take time for yourself so when you need to do the work, you actually do the work. I’m sure we’ve all felt that way, where you force yourself to do something and spend 4+ hours doing something that you could do in less than an hour. Sometimes you need a break.

When I do something, I want to be able to focus on the project/problem/whatever. If I can’t focus, or have to force myself to just keep working I know that my productivity will shoot way down. Then I find myself spending all day on something that I could’ve done much faster and despite all the time spent on it, it’s not my best work.

I’ve learned about myself years ago and so I try to schedule regular breaks into my work week. Taking a break when you have a super long list of things to do can seem unproductive and to this day it still gives me anxiety. However, I still do it because I know I can work better when I take a step away from the things I need to do. I get more done in two days when one of those days is day off than I would if I forced myself to do the work over those two days.

In the end this means I don’t feel as burnt out and I can prioritize my mental health over everything else. That is the secret to why I’m even still here in academia, I’ve prioritized my mental health so I CAN be here. If I didn’t I would’ve burnt out a long time ago and given up on life. Seriously, it’s happened to me before and I don’t like falling down that hole.

So in a way this is a long winded post telling you to prioritize YOUR mental health over the other stresses of life. It’s not easy, it can be stressful, and you really need to fight the urge to just “push through it,” but it is worth it. You don’t even need to be in academia to take time for yourself, you should do it no matter what field you are in. Mental health is important, that’s not something you should forget, even when there is so much to do.

Until next time, don’t stop learning!

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