Friday, January 4, 2013

Be Kind to Yourself (a good reminder)

For the past year and a half, I have been working full-time (40 hours/week) while also taking a full courseload of grad school each semester. At times, I feel like Supergirl (and maybe like I need to be this busy or else what would I *DO*??). And at other times, that's made for a very busy, stressed-out librarian-in-training. And the effects seems to be cumulative, or at least increasing over time. I need a certain amount of sleep to function and a bit more than that to feel well (more than most folks, for various reasons). As an introvert, I need time to myself (usually in the form of curling up with a book) to feel calm and healthy. As a newlywed, it would be lovely to be able to spend quality time with my wife -- and while that occasionally looks like the two of us reading our own books in the same room or folding laundry together, it doesn't extend to me frantically writing a term paper on my laptop while she brings me ice cream. Some sunlight would be nice. But I've shunted most of that aside while I work and study, and it's hurting me!

The approach of a new year prompted me to get some of this stuff in order.

When I looked at what my next (and final) semester would require, I was a bit daunted. With the time spent on my courses and internship plus the time spent at my job, it came out to about 80 hours a week. That's the equivalent of 10 full-time days in a week, or an 11- to 12-hour day EVERY DAY, no breaks. If I tried to take a day for myself, I'd be working at a computer or on a train for all of the daylight hours, and then some. Get up at 7, work at 9, home at 7, homework until 11 or midnight (more or less what I've been doing on weekdays for the last year, but that's just not working anymore). So no time for housework, my sweetie, or any social fun for me. I realized that something had to give before I did.

This is a really good time to be nice to myself, I decided a couple of months ago. (That's why my first goal for 2013 is self-care.) That requires some day-to-day upkeep, but -- more importantly -- a few major structural changes.

I've mentioned already that I quit church choir until after graduation. That gives me back 6+ hours/week. Okay, there's my "me" time: an hour a day, maybe. I need more than that to get the housework AND the homework done. There's nothing else I can really quit. My wife hardly gets to see me as it is.

Stay tuned for updates on what else I'll be changing in my life! (And, really, read that article. And all the comments.)

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