FRIDAY THOUGHTS: THAT IMPOSSIBLE WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Friday, 10 November 2017 University Library






So it's the start of my sixth week back at uni. I currently have 5 completed essays to my name, and 4 more to go before the end of term in 3 weeks. I wrote two essays back to back on Monday and Tuesday, then read 350 pages of Russian history in 24 hours for another deadline today. Now I'm currently in the library, frantically typing out this blog post to publish it by 6pm, so that I can get an hour of reading in for the essay I have to write tomorrow, before the library closes. Oh and then theres a second essay in for Tuesday.

But essays aren't all I've been doing. Determined to embrace uni life to the max this year, I was in the pub Monday, Wednesday, yesterday I had a little cans and music soiree with my mates, and I'm off to the pub again today (tbh the fact that I want to leave for the pub at 7 is the farrrr stronger motivation for me to get my reading done this eve lol!) This weekend, amongst my 2 essays and reading hell, I also somehow found the time to go to the pub (it's becoming a bad habit lol) and go to a halloween all night club event on Saturday that had me back in my bed at 7.30am. Oh, and my upcoming two essay hell will be nicely ensconced amongst another social timetable of: pub, night out, and trip to visit my sister at her uni. So, I guess it's safe to say I'm currently running on 5hrs sleep a night, unhealthily high levels of alcohol, junk food and snacks, and a shit tonne of adrenaline and sheer will power, (but not caffeine, I've never been a coffee girl, that's my only consolation lol!) 

And don't even get me started on my own personal goals. The blog. My beloved little virtual home that I have regrettably neglected for far too long, but has had to take a back seat whilst I tackle the mounds of work that are being hurled at me daily. This weekend I'm determined to write and edit 2 posts, but deep down I know this is slightly ambitious. Then there were my fitness goals. I wanted to get to the gym three times a week, for my mental health particularly, and one of the biggest goals I had set myself for the coming academic year was to start going back to dance classes, something I've missed since starting uni, and a passion I wanted to revisit this year. Have I managed to do either? You've guessed it - of course not.

And this has left me feeling incredibly behind. Like I'm not doing quite enough. That I could be doing better, I could have it more together and I should have it more together. And yet, I know full well that I'm rarely wasting hours these days. Any time I'm neglecting a schedule, it's for want of sleep - a couple more hours in bed in the morning instead of going to the gym or doing some reading. Or it's an hour more in the pub with friends because I haven't seen them in a couple of days. 

No longer am I wasting the hours, as I so often have, particularly at my most depressing times. Far from it, I'm trying my best to use ever single hour I have, and somehow it's still not enough. 

Ah, that ever elusive 'work-life balance', is what springs to mind. 

See, I feel I'm doing the best I can in terms of balancing my work and social life. I have yet to miss an essay deadline, and I've been able to see my friends regularly as opposed to isolating myself in my room with stacks of reading. So at face value, work-life balance? Success! But I know that the way I'm living at the moment is profoundly unhealthy. 

See we live in a society that feeds off being busy. People live with their 'I sleep for 4 hours a night, go to the gym everyday at 6am and live off of caffeine tablets' badges on their sleeves, and quite frankly, I think it's incredibly unhealthily. A part of me has always been ridiculously jealous of that girl who has everything together. Work, social life, exercise, everything. But that's where that old saying, 'comparison is the thief of joy' comes to mind. 

We live in a culture that encourages a 'work yourself to the bone' ethic, constantly being on the move and doing things is deemed a good thing, and almost an 'elite' thing, as though only the very best humans have the capabilities of doing so. We therefore all feel that we must prove how busy we are, showing how much you're living life to the full and achieving across social media, insta stories and so on. Rarely do we take as much pride in the hours in which we 'do nothing', and when we do talk about them, it's always in a sarcastic, jokey, self-deprecating manner. 

I can't pretend that I'm not guilty of this myself. If I have a spare hour and want to sit and do nothing, I always feel I have to justify to someone else why I made that decision. Or if I feel absolutely shattered after a week, I feel very accepting of it, as I feel like because I'm getting a lot of things done, that this is what life 'should' be like. That maybe, I'm just lazy, and the reason I'm finding it so tiring is because of that. 
But deep down I know that's not the case. Sleeping for 5 hours a night, eating lunch on the way to a lecture because you've had back to back appointments, drinking your into your overdraft because you feel you have to make every social occasion, and because you tell yourself that's what uni life is all about. Sometimes it's too much, and you just need a quiet night in. A night off. Time to catch up on your favourite shows, or do some sketching, or read a magazine. 

And so that's what I realised this week. This'll be the last week of this ridiculous work life balance as my workload eases a bit, but I'll still be busy. What's important though, is prioritising self care. I've realised I need to start getting more sleep. I need to start pushing myself to go to every social occasion, because I fear the day my social anxiety takes over again. I need to start taking an hour off here and there, to do my colouring for some therapy, or watch a bit of light hearted telly. It's not just a 'work-life' balance doesn't just mean your job, or school, and a social life. It means time for yourself, self care, sleep, proper meal times. It's so important that we don't forget that, for that's how we live a truly healthy lifestyle. 

What I can say though, is despite how tiring this week has been. I can finally say that I've been enjoying university, the most I ever have, in fact. It's amazing how much getting some counselling and medication has helped me. I'm going to do a full post on my first term back at uni post-intermission, but so far, so good. 

So the take home point from today? Well, I realise a lot of it was me just waffling on, but there is a point in there somewhere. And it is this: We're not robots, we aren't programmed to be switched on all the time. There is a time to work, a time to socialise, and there's a time to slow down and take time for yourself too. Don't be ashamed of the time you take out, it doesn't make you lazy, or stupid, or less capable. It makes you human. 

How do you guys cope in very busy points in your lives? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx


p.s. I got no reading done and this post will be up at 7 - my scheduling will forever be a shambles lol.


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