Downtime? What’s that?

January is nearing its end and I have yet to publish a solid blog post since the New Year. Last term I was juggling 6 courses (that felt like 7), an unpaid internship and a part-time job. This term it’s basically the same despite a regular course load.

The majority of my writing and editing time has been spent on The Green Student and I am SO GLAD I took on this project. I’m watching our follower counts on Facebook and Twitter grow steadily each day and receiving story pitches from some really amazing young people across the world. My research on internet activism is also bringing up some interesting stories and questions, and I’m looking forward to sharing my findings in April.

I’m exposing myself to so much positive work and really appreciate where I am right now, but I feel like I’m spreading myself thin. I’m constantly thinking about how I can improve my academic and professional work, building my personal brand, finding the right job/school/opportunity upon graduation, and maintaining my long-distance relationship and social life. I end up falling asleep before my to-do list is completed or sleeping in after a late night and feeling guilty; starting the following day off a little discouraged. It’s a vicious cycle.

It’s not like I don’t have enough time in a day. My calendar is tediously laid out and I stick to a strict schedule… but that schedule is so tight I gave up on personal time – like going to the gym or pursuing a hobby because I want to excel at every single thing I’m already taking on. As a result, I’m rushing to get everything done on time, and I don’t give my mind a chance to play around with different ideas and solutions to the challenges I’m faced with in assignments, papers and projects. I’m just doing what I need to get done to get a decent mark and move on to the next thing.

I also spend WAY too much time on social media. My work, research and personal life depend too much on these connections, and I need a freaking break.

I read this article the other day on the extinction of deep thinking and sacred space. Scott Belsky brings up some really important points about the scale of our dependency on technology and how this pushes us to live faster-paced lives that are more focused on quick decisions. While I’m confident with my abilities to make sound decisions quickly, I’m never as satisfied as I would be if I took more time to thoroughly explore my ideas and options. I don’t even think I can describe a sacred space I can go to in Waterloo.

I ended up buying myself a Waterloo Yoga Club membership this weekend. For the rest of the term, I need to give myself at least 2 hours of disconnect per day. I’ll work in some meditation, start writing for fun again, maybe even get crafty.

Don’t put off the things you want to learn or get into when you’re done school or whatever other activities are holding you back. You’re probably saying, “Thanks, Captain Obvious,” but I seriously never thought I’d be saying that to myself. I’m following my passions but sometimes I’m working so hard I forget how to enjoy myself.

Anyway, I’m off to find a sacred place now.

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