It’s the story of my life: coming home tired with so much to do. It’s also the case for most graduate students especially those with jobs or other things going on at the same time.
There were nights I resented being tired. I would sulk and tell myself that 24 hours in a day is not enough. I found out I was going about it the wrong way.
Firstly, I was not being grateful for being busy; gratitude is the best stress reliever (will talk more about that in another post). Secondly, complaining made me less likely to maximize my time.
One day, a crazy idea came to my mind. What if I could have a relaxed evening and at the same time do some work?
Trust me, it sounded crazy until I tried it. Since then, I have been able to do a lot more and not feel like my house is an extension of my office. When I’ve had an exceptionally long day or I feel so overwhelmed and work is still piled up, these are some things I do.
1) Decompress on my way home
Yes! It starts when you leave that school or workplace. Regardless of whether you drive or take public transport, make a conscious effort not to think about work or all the things you have to do. I usually play some of my favorite songs or just think of some really happy things. I start feeling better, even before I get home.
2) Warm or Cold Shower/Bath
Not everyone likes the idea of taking night baths, and I understand that. However, I strongly believe in the therapeutic effects of water. As a little girl, my mum would always tell me, sickness starts to leave after a bath. It didn’t make any sense for a VERY LONG TIME. I have grown to see the truth in that statement. Water is used for a lot of things, even to birth babies; that is how powerful water can be. Whether you prefer it hot or cold, shower or bath, bucket or tap, just find a way to pour water on your body.
This is very optional but can be extremely helpful. Bath and Body works has a collection of sleep lotions and bath gels that I love. After a bath, it literally makes you feel like a brand new person. You can also buy some scented candles from any store; I love lavender!
4) Some Good Food
I have to repeat it again: SOME GOOD FOOD!!!! I place a lot of emphasis on food because as students we often forget to eat or can’t afford decent meals. When you are stressed or overwhelmed, spend that extra money, or make out time and buy or cook something nice. When I’m stressed, I go for Pad Thai (rice noodles). You know I’m obsessed with Thai food..lol
5) A Cup of Something
Some tea or juice usually works the miracle. I have found that tea that has mint is so soothing. If you have any favorite tea, it can also do the trick. I prefer juice when I’m about to work and tea when I want to sleep ASAP.
Fruit punch to the rescue
6) Movie or Music
It’s a myth that you can’t study or work without a quiet environment. I have found that background noise of some sort, relaxes you and takes the pressure of concenterating too much. For a few of us, our creative juices don’t flow until the mood is not like a library (lol). But seriously, you have been out all day working under restricted conditions; switch it up a little. Movies can be too distracting if you want to follow the conversations or story line. Old movies that you love and know the story can help with this problem; you can afford to pay less attention. Music, especially soft or slow music sets a very nice mood for work.
7) A Comfortable Work Spot
I wish the work you need to do will disappear, but it wont. All the other steps lead up to this one. Yes, you have to work but it should not feel like you are still at work. Your bed might not also be the best option especially if you don’t want to sleep sooner than you should. So, how do we create the best of both worlds? I’ve tried a few things but my favorite is cushioning the couch. As a student, you may not have a $1000 couch that feels like a slice of heaven but who says you can’t improvise? I use a few pillows and a comforter and layer my chair. This way, I can sit and be cuddled by pillows while I work on my laptop.
Winie and her creative skills…
There are days I have put in another 4-5 hours of work and just felt great because I took some time to take care of myself. It’s a big lie that you have to be constantly stressed to be productive. I hope you try this and tell me if it made your work-evening any less difficult.
I promised myself that I will get this blog post up before I do any work tonight. I’m about to go finish up a presentation. Until we chat in the comment section,
Have a Winning-Day!