Taking care of yourself

It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t finished the second half of my study tools review, so here’s a little interim post on self-care. More on study tools next week.

Yesterday was one of Those Days.

You know the ones. You make it to about three thirty in the afternoon, but then it happens: you flop, and become sad, tired, and unmotivated for no apparent reason.

In my experience, there usually is a reason for the fizzle-out, hiding somewhere in my subconscious. But other times the flops are genuinely random and inexplicable. You may not know which it is, though, and you may never find out.

Anyway, yesterday was one of Those Days.

I used to have Those Days more often than I do at the moment, because I’ve developed a technique for dealing with them. I’m not a mental health professional or a life coach or anything, but this is my personal, unprofessional recommendation:

When it happens, don’t sit there doing nothing. You’ll just feel guilty. You’ll feel guilty for feeling bad, you’ll feel guilty about not knowing why, and you’ll feel guilty about not working.

My advice is action.

Go somewhere else.

Go have coffee.

Go read a book.

Go home and do all the housework that’s been piling up, or have a shower, or have a wank—do whatever, as long as it isn’t sitting there marinating in frustration, fatigue, resentment and/or boredom.

Be nice to yourself. In spite of what you jokingly tell people, if you’re researching, you probably genuinely care about your research. Not all days are going to be productive, and if you’ve hit a wall, you’ve hit it.

Let’s stick with that metaphor for a minute:

It’s a wall. No matter what it’s made of, it’s real enough that it might as well be physically present, and no matter what it’s made of, if you just slammed into it, you’ve already proved to yourself that you won’t be able to move it with force.

Not right away.

So give yourself a little bit of time. When you’re nose to the wall, you’ve got no real perspective on it. Take a step back, and once you’ve regained your eyesight, you’ll be able to get a sense of the wall’s actual dimensions. 

Chances are you’ll find you can walk right around it.

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2 comments

  1. Excellent advice. For me it always hit at the same time in the afternoon. I always attributed the feeling to a nutritional issue. I’ve had lunch and I’m well into the process of digesting it and that’s tiring. My solution is a mid-afternoon sugar bump in the form of a cookie or slurpee or vitamin water. It’s not exactly one of my het use habits, but it’s definitely effective and makes me a more productive person!

    1. Oh yes. Food is a big one. I’ll probably end up having a food rant on here at some point, but suffice to say I need to eat every three hours or The Hanger strikes.

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