Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Post 96: Maintaining momentum when everything else is against you.

I don't recommend to anyone to be a graduate student who needs to seek work in order to keep life trucking along. Whenever you need to be working along side school, it slows you down, even when you are an expert productive procrastinator like me. At some point, the weeks become months become a year or two, and you're tired, grumpy about the process, and you really, really want to be done.

So much work to dooooo! :D
I'm there. I'm definitely happy to see the end of these revisions and to get this project finished. I think that this research is important and worthwhile, and hope that it contributes to some understanding of contemporary science-policy relationships within a rapidly changing world that is trying to respond to climate change, even as it's changing the rules of the game of life.

Happy little lemon flower and green lemon soon to ripen at a friend's place! :)
So this is me writing again about self care and getting good sleep and being kind and compassionate with yourself -- these are things that I am known to struggle with: I am inclined to stay up late in order to get work done, or to have an internal negative talk with myself about not getting enough done in the down time I have (although getting work done during down time isn't exactly giving myself a break and taking down town -- sometimes I can see my own mistakes in reasoning).

Blueberry gyoza at The Noodle Box. Good food = happy Heike.
I've recently started to use an app called "SAM" to help me process some of my unhelpful internal habits around anxiety, in particular. So far, mixed results, but I am feeling a bit better about some things. I did yoga for 40 minutes before a work meeting on Sunday, and that felt good. I'm trying to cycle to work a few days a week to build some exercise into my work routine, and honestly, given the horrendous traffic along Craigflower, Highway 1, and the Island Highway, it is faster, some days, to cycle my 20 minutes up the roads or along the Galloping Goose to get home. So, biking for the win! (I will actually admit some glee to passing my commuters in their cars when I'm whizzing past on my bike. I don't have to compete for traffic, and even if it's raining, I've found it refreshing to ride.)

Healthy Heike also includes lovely afternoon walks. :) 
In the long run, it's best take care of your health and your happiness, and keep life only as difficult as it needs to be in grad school. Long hours of sitting, not getting exercise and not balancing out enough work and fun and down time so that you get sick, overworked, burned out, or have stress injuries, won't help you get your thesis done. There is a requisite amount of time that your bum's got to stay in a chair in order to get writing and revisions done, for sure, but do, do, do keep an eye on your health and your happiness.

Self care is immensely important, and grad school is the perfect place to put your resilience to a test. Be ready for it.

Even now, when I'm close to being done, I'm working full-time, and it's a challenge to get everything done, feel like I'm putting my best foot forward, and managing to keep on top of everything, but then I think of the race between the turtle and the hare, and the turtle does, in the end, cross the finish line. :)

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