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 a 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 , 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 :
- Stick to your goals when time permits, do the other less priority stuff.
- Leave by a set time. Everything does not need to all get done during my time off. There will always be work.
- 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.