In the 1960’s my father wrote his doctoral dissertation on the art of leisure. He worked hard, both at his job and also volunteering in our community. He also knew how to create restorative time within his very demanding schedule that began before daylight and ended well into the night. It is all too common, in the American cultural context, for people to feel bad about taking time off. In other countries there is four work weeks of paid vacation by law!
As a graduate student, you are likely reading this and saying, “I can’t afford to take any time off…” – too busy, no money, experiments to run, too tired, already behind on my deadlines, etc. Yet dedicating even just one day a month, to something other than working on your degree, can have a restorative effect. And often that restorative effect is just what you need to experience to later solve a problem, tackle a challenge, or accomplish a task that has been dragging you down.
- Choose to do something that does not feel or fall into the category of work;
- Resist using the time to catch-up on something, but rather engage in a non-work activity that has a beginning and an end;
- Try something new – as that often stimulates one’s creativity;
- Return to a pursuit in which you engaged before graduate school that brought you feelings of enjoyment, relaxation, and excitement;
- Plan ahead, even by just a day or two, and enjoy looking forward to the upcoming vacation or restorative activity.
While you might not be able to take a full week or more, use the time you can take to get the greatest restorative benefit.