Sunday, August 31, 2014

Exercise Key to Happiness

Being a mom and a full-time professional, it's often easy for me to neglect exercise so that I can finish a project. However, it occurred to me this week the cost of this sort of trade-off. I was on "vacation" this week but I made it astaycation so that I can take care of some personal errands I had to get done.  My plan was to get those done, finish up my research papers, study and play tennis.

Instead, I spent most of the week working.  Since it's the beginning of the new academic year, we had new people starting in our group.  Since I have the most experience, I felt obliged to orient them and show them how to do the various types of tasks. They were working on one of my main projects so I had a personal investment to make sure that things got done right. Of course, one work lead to next and I ended up spending most of my vacation week working until very late hours and got none of my original goals done. At the end of the week, I was tired, stressed, and very annoyed. I talked about it with a good friend and I realize it's because I didn't get to exercise and play tennis to decompress or force time for myself to relax.

In summary, the advice that I would give myself next time something similar happens is to :
  1.  Stick to your goals when time permits, do the other less priority stuff.
  2.  Leave by a set time.  Everything does not need to all get done during my time off. There will always be work. 
  3. Set time with friends to play tennis, etc.
Update August 26, 2015:
My two cents on meditation:

I started meditating about 3 months ago after reading the book "The Art of Learning" and a few articles about meditation and decided to give it a try since my stress level was through the roof due to my upcoming boards in mid June. I started out at 1-2 minutes a day and decided to incrementally increased the time if I could tolerate it. I'm at about 30-40 minutes a day and meditate everyday. It's a subtle change but I have to say my stress level has been in the lowest state since at least 10 years, probably more. I don't know what it is about meditation to calms me down but it's working. I knew about the benefits for years from listening to talks and reading research studies, and finally tried it. I would recommend it anyone. There are few things I've done consistently everyday but meditation is one of those and it's become an important part of the daily routine.

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