Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Post 61: Staying Healthy Amid Change!

Fall is in the crisp evening air already (everything seems about 2 weeks early in the province this year, from edible fruits like raspberries, blackberries, and apples, to the leaves changing colour!); how quickly the seasons can change!

The activity around my office has been picking up, whether it's runners dashing by on the Alumni Chip Trail, colleagues returning from field work and populating their offices here, or the bustle of my phone delivering text messages from friends saying "Are you back?!" (Haha, I've been back from my travelling for a while now, but have been keeping a low profile to keep working!)

Everyday as more students dot the landscape on campus, as the campus tour guides mosey their groups across different paths and lawn patches, it's also a good reminder that there are that many more germs on door handles and on the bus, so wash your hands! Sleep well! Eat well! Regularity in schedule is also probably not a bad thing, in terms of heading to bed at a reasonable hour, and heading up to work at about the same time. We're into the home stretch now!

My fourth chapter is finally starting to fill in a pleasant way. It's becoming a bit easier to look at its organization, what else is still missing, and to think constructively about the chapter as a whole. Two days ago I spent 2 hours with a colleague learning how to use Adobe Illustrator so we could graphically put to vision the image of my chapter themes. That was very exciting, and I appreciate her help immensely.

My new cat-friend, Mingus!
As a grad student, it's been immensely rewarding to build these relationships with like-minded people—colleagues who are generous with their time, their compassion and passion, and commitment to learning and self-improvement. There's definitely a lot I love about being in this vibrant, productive learning space.

As the stresses of the semester pick up again (the summer can be quite relaxed, and certainly less regimented without weekly lab meetings, though I anticipate those will start up again soon), it's important to stay active, get lots of sleep, and keep on top of building good habits.

In order to do that for myself, I have started using two different apps. Runkeeper was recommended to me by my current housemate. I use it to keep track of my exercise, whether running or cycling, and it's great! It fits well for my competitive nature, as I try to beat my pace times, and see how I perform on different routes. I love 5-6km runs, so this is a great tool for helping me keep track of the distance, too. AND, helpfully, it keeps setting me reminders for when I want to be doing exercise, in case I forget what day I wanted to keep active on (my schedule does have some week to week shifts).

I've also started to use Habitica, with which you role play a little pixelated character, and get gold and mana for keeping up on your healthy habits, all of which are personalized. I have both work and exercise related goals in there, some as small as holding a plank for 2 minutes, or getting 2 sets of 10 pushups completed at some point during the day. Or, a Pomodoro for thesis writing. It is great.

We need to stay healthy in order to maintain productivity paces and work, and I'm trying a couple of different things to help get and stay there. So far so good!

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