I mentioned in yesterday’s post that work has just redlined for me. What I didn’t really get into was that with this added busy-ness and – to a certain extent – accompanying stress, I have to make certain adjustments to my lifestyle to accomodate. So here’s what I’m doing:
I’ve switched back to reading fiction. I talked about this a bit in a post back in January called “On Moderation“. Reading for escape. When work isn’t monopolizing my brain-pan, I’m usually reading something, well, “educational”. I’m a hundred or so pages into William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience, and I just finished reading Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (which is pretty short). These types of readings are good exercise for my brain because they give me things to think about. When I read for escape, though, I like to read fiction. I get swept along in the story and let my brain just go on auto-pilot. There’s not a whole lot of proper thinking that goes on when I’m reading for escape. Half an hour of reading fiction at lunch is a great way for me to break up the workday.
I’m also cutting out any unnecessary socializing. And I’m doing so conspicuously. That is, I’m telling my friends straight-out when I’m choosing to isolate – instead of sneaking around and ignoring phone calls or making excuses. That just adds more stress. I’m trying to get home at a decent hour and decompress as close to the end of the workday as possible.
One thing I need to be vigilant about is getting exercise. I don’t get much exercise during the week, and when work is busy I’m tempted to spend a lot of time catching up on sleep on the weekends. While this is good to a certain extent, it’s also important for me to get my blood flowing and expend any additional energy pockets my body has built up over the course of the week. Hiking usually suffices. In the next six weeks or so, I need to make sure that I’m getting some exercise – hiking or kayaking or whatever. When I get some exercise on the weekends, I’m evened-out during the week and more efficient. If I don’t, those energy pockets turn into knots in my shoulders and back and make me (though I don’t always notice it until it’s too late) a bit irritable and sometimes sharp/short with my words to others.
I also need to stick to those three things I mentioned in “The Oxygen Mask Analogy“. They’ll be more important than ever in the next few weeks.