hiya – Meredith here.
I’m off to Montreal tomorrow morning. I’m only going for a night — leaving Saturday morning, and coming back Sunday night, but I’m going to make a bold move: I’m not going to bring my computer. That’s right: I’m going off-line for the WHOLE weekend. I’m taking the train, and you know what? I don’t even CARE that they have internet on-board now: I’m going to bring a book. And you know what else? It might not even be an academic book. Maybe I’ll bring a *gasp* novel? or heck, even a magazine!?
That’s right: I’m going to give myself the weekend off. I got a head start today. I’ve been feeling kind of anxious lately, trying to juggle everything I’ve got to do — I’ve even been having trouble sleeping. But I managed to squeeze in a yoga class this morning, and as I was leaving, jokingly mentioned to my friend that I wished I could take the day off.
“Why can’t you?” she said.
I couldn’t come up with a good reason.
“But,” she said, “if you’re going to do it, make sure you really commit to doing it. Don’t feel bad about it.”
And so, that’s what I did. After yoga, I met a friend for a cafe latte and a really great, productive chat. Then I went home to lunch. Then I did a couple of puttering things at home (including, I’ll admit it, updating my academic blog — though I didn’t stress out about it) before meeting a different friend for a walk and some errands. I opted for more exercise in the afternoon (nothing better for anxiety, right?), concluding with my dance class in the early evening, and dinner with another friend.
And I don’t feel bad about it at all. Nope, not me: I needed a mental health day, so I took one. Those are the perks of grad student status, right?
I think this probably is a good time for me to remind you (as I had to remind myself) about how important exercise is for good mental health. I know the Queen’s community has had to contend with a number of tragedies in the last few days and weeks, so I’m not going to hold back in reminding you, fair reader, that as busy as we all are, it’s really key that we make time for things like friends and exercise.
I’ve been so busy lately that I hadn’t even noticed that I’d been letting my workout regiment slide. What I couldn’t figure out, however, was why I’d been feeling increasingly antsy and anxious lately. It was a clever friend who put two and two together: he pointed out that as I’d become more and more busy, and was working out less and less frequently, my incidences of stress were most notably on the rise.
So: I’m recommitting to my workouts. I’m going to make myself get to the gym even on the days when it feels impossible. And if you’re feeling at all stressed or anxious, I’d strongly recommend giving a little exercise a try. It just might do the trick.
Enjoy your weekends!