Rest.

Rest. Relaxation. Sleep. A Life.

Four horsemen of a laziness and in the culture of science, they’re things you’re ‘supposed’ to minimize to be successful. These things are essential for being human. I don’t get enough of any of them. And even though I do more things now that are satisfying to me, they feel like stop gap measures to maintaining my sanity. 

Turning off and letting go are things I don’t naturally do well (especially when I feel like I’m behind on things & I’m always behind). That’s not to say that when I’m on, I do things the right way, or well. But  I’m a human and no matter how I do when I’m ‘on’ I need to recharge my batteries (especially as an introverted person). 

This last week hasn’t been great for that. Last night, I basically shut down. And just needed to stop. I drove home from the first day of lab, second day of lecture for the class I’m co-teaching in a large snowstorm. I don’t think I’d have made it home if it weren’t for the snow plow I followed most of the way. 

I barely ate today. And feel kind of awful (of course) because of it. I’ve been eating a lot less this year so far. I’m not sure if it’s the cold weather or what. I’ve been rushed in the mornings due to trying to get every last minute of sleep. I’ve gone out for coffee on my way to work each morning. Maybe good for socializing a little bit. But it’s also expensive.

I worked most of the weekend. Not sleeping well. Not socializing nearly enough to be healthy. My hug count for 2013 is 0 (yes, I count- and assume my count is lower than most other people’s). 

Some of this is because I don’t set good boundaries, but of course, like most scientists (probably like most Americans in professional positions), the ideal is to work as much as possible. Get up early. Stay late. Eat at your desk (while working). Don’t read for pleasure. Only work. Come in at least one day a weekend and get something done. Have more things going than you can handle at once. Multi-task. 

I don’t know that any of this is a problem, but it certainly doesn’t help, especially if you don’t have something else to balance things out a bit. A hobby, family, something else you’re passionate about besides your work. I’m still not sure I’ve found that thing for myself (the most elegant solution for me would be a significant other- being single sucks…no matter how much my friends in relationships say they’re a pain too). 

I don’t have any good answers. There are things I’d like to change in my life. And may well be changing. I’m just not sure any of my new habits will make much difference. 

I wish I had a more positive note to end on. It’s late. So I’m going to get to sleep. 
 

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Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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