Friends, Family, and You Are Relevant Too

October 1, 2009

As you’re prioritizing and creating schedules and trying to remember everything you have to do, remember that family and friends matter too. So does your health and well-being. I know this seems like another “duh!” moment, but I still find remembering these things a challenge when there are multiple deadlines looming. This is not to say that you can ignore your responsibilities at school, but rather that you may have to actually schedule times to take care of yourself and to stay connected with people who care about you so that they will have evidence that you still care about them.

I noticed that I left my husband out yesterday. I know that I could have made it through school without him, but I also know that his patience with things like book-covered tables (we started eating on trays during my undergrad years because I had the dining room and kitchen tables stacked with papers and projects in progress) meant a lot. He reminded me regularly that I needed to take a break and was always willing to work around my schedule as much as we could.

The time away from thinking about school, even if it was just to go to a movie or take a walk, was especially important for me. Sometimes it seems like you don’t have time to do even these small things, and sometimes, especially if you’ve put off something that has to be done, you really are almost out of time. But often it is possible to take a break, and taking a break from studying can be useful as well as healthy, allowing your mind time to process and refreshing you.

Take some alone time for yourself as well. Put it on your calendar if you need to. Just don’t be like one of my students who left a voicemail for me that said: “Hi, Dr. Zinn, you said we should take care of ourselves, so I won’t be in class today. I’m here in the tub, I have candles lit, music playing, and a glass of wine in my hand. I just needed some ‘me’ time, so I won’t be in class today.” I’m sure I don’t have to tell you why I was not very happy. We all need mental health days sometimes. Every once in a while that time might come during class if something unexpected happens. Otherwise, I don’t recommend this option, and I do not recommend leaving a message like this!

What do you need to schedule time for?

The name of the game is taking care of yourself, because you’re going to live long enough to wish you had.
* Grace Mirabella


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