Jack’s Brain Vs. Logic
This really is the ultimate battle and right now it seems more relevant than ever. I find that I am constantly finding new ways to tell myself, ‘you know what you should be doing to overcome your stress’, and finding just as many ways to counter these proposals. Yes, this is definitely a battle between my brain and logic. Unfortunately my brain wins far too often.
I still feel that I know what I could/should be doing to relieve the stress of days stuck working in my room in Leamington Spa though so hopefully someone else can benefit from my suggestions.
The answer may often seem counter-intuitive. When I’m feeling tired and lacking any energy or motivation, going for a run (or even just getting outside) is often the last thing on my mind but also the thing that can have the best effect. Running always feels like a draining activity but I really do find it energises me for the rest of the day once I’m back, recovered and moving on.
Recently I’ve been trying to encourage myself to get out more by not worrying so much about my time or my speed. Those are the things that make running a chore and a constant battle but by putting them aside for a moment, running recently has been a really enjoyable way to get out and explore the local area. I thought I knew Leamington and Warwick fairly well but recently I have realised they are far more interesting than I had given them credit for. Out at the edges of town there are so many new places that I am only just now discovering and I’m so glad that I have.
Cooking is another activity that might seem like a chore when it approaches in the evening but just think about it this way, it’s a chore that yields the result of a delicious meal and a break from work. Sometimes I find it can be hard to relax at uni without feeling guilty that I should be doing something more productive but cooking is a great activity to take up this time because I genuinely find it enjoyable and no one can argue that it’s not a productive use of time.
Two hour slow cooked stew in the evening? Seems reasonable.
And following on with the same theme, I would also highly recommend stopping mid-morning and mid-afternoon to make a cup of coffee for exactly the same reason. I like the process that goes into something like a cup of tea or coffee, as simple as it may be, and it’s one of those distractions that I don’t feel so guilty about.
Normally when I find myself getting stressed, I’ll read but recently I haven’t been able to focus on anything new. Fortunately I came to uni prepared this year. I have only re-read two books in my life but this term I brought one of my favourite books (Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft) with me from home and it was so liberating to be able to jump back into a familiar story.
Familiar is the perfect adjective here because it was like coming back to something that I knew was safe and would provide comfort but also I noticed so much more about the story and the characters this second time around. Maybe it’s not a book for you but holding on to something you know and trust can often be the best way to ease your fear of the unknown.
If it really is a case of feeling trapped in the same place, try mixing up your workspace. If you have a common area that’s not too rowdy during the day, move there for a while just to break the monotony. This is one I wish I could bring myself to do but I’m ever the enemy of change.
One other important thing to remember is other people! Human interaction is important and I’m finding it so easy at the moment to just let whole days go by where I’ll realise I have been locked away working in my room since the early morning. Just having a five minute conversation always lifts my mood and makes me more productive going forward.
That’s the big thing that all of these little tips have in common. I always manage to convince myself that one of these breaks will be a waste of time but the productivity boost you’ll get from taking some sort of break for a moment far outweighs the time spent and besides, it’s important to give yourself a break just for the sake of taking a break every now and then.