Most of our life as students is spent inside a classroom, library or our personal room working, thinking and growing in our education and experience. There have been many weeks where I am so encompassed in my work that I forget to look up, let the sunshine hit my face and just breathe a little. I also forget to socialize and get outside. This is important especially as we continue into graduate school. We need to still seize the moment and not let the years fly by with our face in the books. We need to find balance for ourselves and for our friends. We have to learn that we can be students and still go on adventures with friends on the weekends.
Here are three ways to keep a balance life:
“Sabbath Day” (Rest Day)
This is one of my favorites because it forces me to rest. To have a day where you do not go to work, do work or stress in anyway. This is a day where you can kick back, relax and not feel guilty for not being productive for once. As most of us are as graduate students, it always stings a little bit when we see a whole 24 hours go by and we have not checked something off our ‘to do’ list, but I think this is very important for us to step away from the paper and highlighter. We need to rest our brain and do what we love. A Sabbath day looks different for many people. I love to go out with friends, run, read a good book, maybe catch a movie or simply just hang out in my hammock. To others, it might be vegging on Netflix all day. To each our own, but whatever you do own it. Take a day for you and allow yourself to not feel guilty for indulging in something you love.
I recently joined a women entrepreneurship group and one thing I love that they do are monthly challenges. They take the theme of the month and incorporate it into a challenge that is creative, fun and gets you to think outside of the box. Take this concept and be innovative in your own personal life. Challenge yourself to an adventure, project or new hobby. My favorite thing is taking day adventures or challenging myself to try out a new restaurant with a friend. Just do something and most importantly, have fun doing it!
This one is pivotal. Find something you do every day that creates a little bit of routine to your life and makes you happy. My daily routine is yoga. Some days I spend an hour on the mat , while others only 10 minutes, but I make an effort to get there because I know it makes me feel centered and in the end, my heart happy.
Do not let being a graduate student steal away your identity and joy of life. Work hard always, but also learn to find time for yourself and exploration. There is a life outside the classroom waiting to be discovered by you. Do not miss the opportunity to get lost in that.
Jenny is an Ed.D. student participating in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Doc@Distance Program.