I’ve never really been prone to feeling “stressed out.” I’m generally pretty chill. I think proper time management is the key to avoiding work and school stress. But today it hit me fairly hard that I don’t ever have any unscheduled downtime. Tuesday-Thursday are busy with clinic, school work, and classes from 6:30 am to 9:00 pm. If I’m in town on any given weekend I’m keeping an 8:00 am to 9-10 pm study schedule Friday-Monday (with the exception of the first half of Sunday, and a few random activities here and there). And then I’m gone at least every other weekend, which means I’m even busier the week before and after. It’s all worth it, absolutely! And it keeps me from spending money on stuff like eating out and movies. Because I don’t make time for that.
But I realized today that I need to schedule unscheduled downtime. 😂 As weird as that sounds, if I don’t schedule a chunk of time that says “do whatever you want,” I won’t ever take an extended break. I’ll take 5 minutes after most (but not all) 15 minute work intervals, and occasionally I’ll let an idle 30 minutes pass here and there. And I do allot myself a small amount of time to watch Netflix a few times a week, usually while I’m eating or working on things that don’t need my whole focus. But bodies need rest. God said so, and research shows it’s not good for your immune system to not have it (I rarely say “research shows” unless I’ve read it; but I just did).
The benefit of scheduling my time so closely is that I can fit in just about anything I want. I make Bible stuff and exercise non-negotiable, and if there’s anything else I really want to do I find a way. This month I’ll be out of town all but one weekend, including Friday and Monday. That means about 12 days of not doing any work at all (that’s not quite true actually; I sometimes do work while I’m gone, but I try not to). But the trade-off is the constant treadmill when I’m home. Even though it’s worth it, I think I’ve got to schedule more down time. Once Dempster is here maybe that’ll help. We can go to the dog park or take a walk. I plan to schedule 15-30 minutes of puppy training into my everyday non-negotiable time as well, so that will be a fun thing to alternate with school work.
I realized two other things that are probably contributing to this knot in my stomach tonight. One is that I’m fasting – which doesn’t cause a stomach knot; but because I haven’t needed to stop to eat today, that’s taken out a few natural breaks. I should’ve replaced them with just chilling, but I didn’t.
The other thing is something I’m kind of dreading. I’m going to be presenting at the Association for Behavior Analysts International conference in San Diego next May. That’s fine. But I got an email that stressed me out. The guy I’ll be working with (someone my advisor volunteered me to) emailed and asked for a title and abstract for what I’ll be presenting. I quickly emailed my professor, because I thought I was just joining something he and his students were working on. She said I’ll present a study we’re doing in the clinic, which means it was fine that I didn’t have anything prepared to give him. She said we’ll talk about it Wednesday. But the deadline for submitting abstracts is the next Wednesday! Which means potentially I could get sent home with a bunch of stuff to do that I don’t feel like I know how to do. With a one week deadline, during which I’ll be gone 4.5 days and have a new puppy after that. 😱
So I’m stressed. I don’t have to think about that till Wednesday, and I am looking forward to avocado eggs tomorrow morning. Life is busy and wonderful, and I just needed a moment to organize my thoughts before the clinic week starts.