My weekday routine
Aiming to get up before 07:00, although a struggle, is a must for me since I personally prefer to have a long morning routine; I’m generally more productive and mentally-secure in the early hours when my mind feels more fresh than when the day has beaten me up.
I’m not too sure how I stumbled upon this breakfast routine, but it’s honestly one that sets me up for the rest of the day. I wasn’t usually a coffee-person, however I just grew to find the smell of freshly-ground beans and the French press hitting a sort of ‘reset’ button in my headspace.
Having a heavier breakfast also means that I can have lunch later in my work day, and therefore I only have to keep up the quickly-diminishing motivation I have for about three more hours until I go home.
Only until I’ve had breakfast will I start to get ready. This was the main change from my second-year routine that I actively tried to pursue — back then, I was always rushing in the morning and got dressed as soon as I woke up (10 minutes before I was supposed to leave); I didn’t assess at which parts of the day I was actually productive and of sounder mind in order to make use of the phases where I was ‘alive and kicking’, so to speak.
Like I said in my previous blog, the cycling culture here is very much prevalent. It’s much cheaper than taking the bus to work and back daily. The fresh air feels nice, almost like a nice cold splash of water to further wake me up.
It also doubles as a quick workout, if you will; it takes me around 10 minutes to get to work so doing this daily is great for my general wellbeing. With COVID-19 making me feel uneasy to go to the gym, and a full-time job plus part-time study making it difficult to go for a regular run when there’s still daylight, I thought I shouldn’t take a nice cycle to work for granted.
Since we are allowed to come in at any time between 07:30 and 09:00 (when the workday starts officially, i.e. meetings and practical work) I choose to arrive at around 08:30 so that I can take a breather, start up my veeeery slow computer and plan my day.
DSM Zwolle has a great culture of taking appropriate breaks. After all, it is much better for productivity and thinking if the brain doesn’t get overworked. It also helps that they provide free hot drinks.
Dinner & chill
I usually leave between 16:30 and 17:00 (16:00 on Fridays) so that I still get some time for myself. This is absolutely necessary, as well as incorporating some variety in what I do with this free time: most of the time I will watch a few videos, like a volleyball game, or call my friends/family back home while I have dinner.
Other times, I will have had dates set up with new Dutch friends, for which I found dating apps particularly great (much to my surprise). I’ve found these to be amazingly helpful; they double as Dutch language & culture lessons as well as building meaningful friendships during a once-in-a-lifetime, truly self-discovering experience.
Admittedly, it is very difficult to keep up the target of doing one hour of lectures and another hour of consolidation every day after work. Sometimes I will just feel unwilling to buck up and start the process, or if I do start I won’t want to keep going because of my constantly diverting attention.
It’s easy to beat myself up for not doing any university work daily, but I feel I need to simply follow my own advice (c.f. my previous blog) about exercising consistency, which doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to force the work every day; I just need to take it day by day and chip at the walls at a steady pace.
A quick workout in my room at the end of the day serves me two purposes: 1) I get to keep up with the lack of physical volleyball that I currently do; and 2) it feels nice to shower after having worked up a sweat.
I wish I could say that I keep up a consistent sleep routine, however this has been a tough one for me. The aim at the moment is to sleep between 23:00 and 00:00, but it really should be earlier since I realised that I tend to wake up during the night.
And in saying that, good night, I hope you’ve taken something of value from this one, and stay golden 😀