After a nice two weeks with no responsibilities, it can be a rather jarring transition once the quarter starts again. It’s hard to get used to waking up early for morning classes again when for the past few weeks waking up at noon was the best that could be expected.
That being said, this transition might look differently for different people. I, for one, will have to get used to a routine that I haven’t used since my freshman year. After more than a year of juggling 20 units among other responsibilities, getting used to a less demanding schedule is a lot more difficult than it may seem.
If you’re like me, whenever you’re not doing anything there’s always this feeling looming over you that you’re forgetting something or that you should be being productive. Unfortunately, when you have a hectic schedule this feeling is often true and at times can be the only driving force behind my productivity. It’s not easy to switch this off, thus this same feeling turns into a curse the moment you can finally relax.
I am kicking off this quarter by making sure I prioritize giving myself the time and space necessary to not be productive at all. People like me who have the habit of constantly being overworked and overwhelmed have a hard time just sitting idly without feeling the need to fill our free time with other things.
Something I’ve been doing that has helped me not over-schedule myself is spending more time doing day-to-day activities, like cooking and cleaning. By increasing the time and amount of energy I put into these activities that I have to do anyway, I can make the process more enjoyable and end up with a better result. This way I make the most of my time while also clearing up the schedule for my future self.
I won’t say that with my newfound free time I haven’t been tempted to pick up new hobbies like learning a new language or relearning the guitar. Even though these are perfectly fine (and fun) hobbies to have, it still adds to my workload and it can easily lead to me being too hard on myself for not keeping up with them in the long run.
To avoid this, I’m planning to schedule my schoolwork and other activities just like I normally would, leaving any extra time I have empty so I don’t have that added pressure to do work. If I do happen to do any hobbies during that free time it will be at my own pace and will be a lot more enjoyable.
In a culture where it’s almost “cool” to be busy all the time, it’s especially important to take a step back and remind yourself that doing absolutely nothing can be even more beneficial than overworking yourself. Think of it this way: for your mental health, sitting on the couch and binge-watching your favorite comfort show is just as productive as checking things off your to-do list.