It can be tempting to take the break around the holidays to “catch up” or “get ahead” on courses and work. This is something I have done year after year. It is extra time to get those readings in without the interruptions of regular life. Though, one could argue that there tend to be more distractions this time of year.
Either way, certain school and work responsibilities slow down and give a little more downtime, you know you are not going to get that assignment back and if you send one in it isn’t going to be marked for a couple weeks. Personally, I know that during this time there will be less work coming in that needs to go out because everyone is winding down for a few weeks.
I am determined this year to take more time away, to work on some personal projects, and spend time training and working with the puppy and getting him more integrated into the pack. I want to visit more with friends and family. While I will still be using this time to catch up on various work-related things it isn’t going to be at the forefront for me.
It is so important for our well-being to take advantage of these times and allow ourselves to disconnect a bit from work and school, to reconnect with our lives outside of all that.
With Athabasca University’s set up, I found that I was always taking a course, I ended up in a routine where I would stagger my start dates but always had multiple courses on the go. For the entirety of my degree. I didn’t take a break. And while I loved this setup and the flexibility that it allowed me it was also too easy to stay buried in that world and to never “come up for air”.
I am finding that now, too. I always have work I can be doing—work I should be doing. So it can be hard to step away, and while I have been trying to be better about taking at least one day on the weekend, I also find these days are useful in getting caught up or getting ‘ahead’. For some weekends this is fine, it gives a feeling or organization and calm moving into the next week, a “fresh start” so to speak. But, to work through every weekend is only going to lead to burn out. I have been feeling myself inching towards that, especially after the busy fall season.
When I stopped to consider this and acknowledge it, it struck me that so many times while doing my degree I would push through this feeling. I would push it down and ignore it. Which is never a healthy thing to do.
In the end, I have decided that I am going to allow myself some time away from the screen. I will still be working on specific things that this time will be useful for, but I am going to say “yes” to getting away more, “yes” to adventure and enjoy this time when I can get out, guilt-free, and recharge myself.