How do you relax?

The past few weeks were strenuous in terms of my workload, enjoyable but strenuous! Regular readers of Cultural Life might remember that I hit a low point for a week or so when I started the final year of my BA in October, but I think that was simply due to adjusting back into the pace of the academic year. I was also feeling somewhat daunted by the first piece of fieldwork that I had to do for one of my modules. As I wrote in that October post, the class assignment was “the most advanced and demanding project I have done so far”.

However, flash forward a few months later: the project is finished, I turned it in last Monday and I feel happy with my work. When I printed out the project, MS Word told me the total editing time was 1906 minutes — 31.8 hours! That doesn’t include the time I spent finding people to interview, which entailed making lots of phone calls and utilizing social media, making several 2-hour round trips to interview people, transcribing the interviews and reading background literature on my subject. Overall, I estimate that I spent at least 60 hours on the project, but it was worth it! Whereas I felt somewhat downcast initially, the experience I had of carrying out this project has made me even more sure that the academic life is the life for me. I am intent on pursuing my goal of becoming a university lecturer. While I know there will be low points along the way, it’s good to reflect on the high points too because sometimes, when there are setbacks, it can be difficult to remember how the highs feel.

Public domain image source

This weekend is a brief respite before the Spring/Summer semester begins and I am making the most of doing nothing study-related! As Caitlin Kelly from Broadside Blog tweeted recently, “We all run ourselves at an industrial pace”, which is so true!

It does feel good being unproductive. I am taking this weekend out to relax; last night I went out for dinner with friends and today I went for a 3 mile walk, followed by too much time on my laptop, catching up on blogs and browsing online newspapers. This evening, I’m going to curl up in front of the fire with Hillary Clinton’s memoir of her time as Secretary of State. It feels deliciously unproductive and yes, I could be doing preliminary reading for the new classes which I start this week, but sometimes it’s good to just give ourselves a break.

How do you relax?

My kitty says "take a nap!"

My kitty says “take a nap!”

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14 thoughts on “How do you relax?

  1. Congratulations on finishing up your project! I think it’s wonderful that you’ve found your calling, and at an early age!

    Your way of unwinding sounds like my way as well. I usually like a mix of social and solo time (heavier on the solo ;-)), reading and walking. I’m glad you gave yourself time to just hang loose.

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  2. Yay! Congratulations on finishing your project (which I assume was the big research one you mentioned to me a few months back). Transcribing interviews is probably one of, if not the most time-consuming practices involved in research but it’s a necessary one. I’m glad the project gave you a better sense of where you want to go from here as well so double yay!

    Your methods of relaxing sound right up my alley. Since I’m working regular hours from Mon-Fri and I work with words and articles and text all the time, weekends are generally spent vegetating with YouTube on. Seeing friends is also a great way to get away from the grind of working. Enjoy your week ahead! 🙂

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    • Thanks! 🙂 Yep, you’re right: it was the research one. I haven’t got the grade for it yet (I have to wait a few weeks), but I’m hoping for a good one!

      Ah, YouTube….I can while away many an hour on there. I hope you enjoy your week too! 🙂

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  3. Congrats on finishing that HUGE project and for taking time to reflect on it! I agree that many people run at an industrial pace, and that it’s so wonderful to just RELAX and be very unproductive sometimes. It’s good for the soul!

    I relax by scrapbooking, taking pictures, and reading!

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  4. What an incredible achievement – the sheer thought of those hours makes me want to go lie down in a darkened room for a while 😉

    Since moving to Sweden I’ve really learned the value of relaxing – they’re great at balancing working hard and playing hard, and I find that I am so much more productive during my work times when I’m relaxed!

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    • Thank you. 🙂 The project took a long time but it was definitely worth it, especially since I got an excellent grade for it this week!

      The Swedish approach to work and relaxation sounds very sensible. I have heard that Scandinavian countries tend to have a better work/life balance. Yep, relaxation leads to productivity!

      Thanks for commenting and sorry I took a while to reply: it has been a busy week!

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