I’m currently writing this post in a coffee shop in an attempt to feel less guilty about not being productive. Yes, I’m aware of the irony but here goes…

Juggling work/school commitments while making time for self-care is a balancing act that many of us aspire to master.

As a self-professed meme connoisseur, I’ve come across a lot of posts that range from: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but get off your phone and do your work” to “Self-care is important! Log out of your g-mail and get on that bubble bath before I drag you by your pinky toes.”

I’m sure you know what kind of posts I’m referring to – and now that we’re in the middle of reading week (which, by the way, is going by WAY too fast), these sentiments are more relevant than ever.

Yes, it is a break and some people make use of this time by taking a trip somewhere warm and tropical, while some actually do some reading (hehe, losers, amirite? I’m clearly projecting here) 

And so here comes the dilemma of feeling guilty for not being productive enough while simultaneously getting frustrated at myself for not relaxing and doing things that I don’t have time to do when school is in session.

I call this the Schrodinger’s cat productivity dilemma (please laugh at my intellectual joke)

At the end of the day, regardless of the fact that reading week was technically meant to give students a chance to study for midterms, it’s still a break from my usual routine and the temptation to sleep in every day, binge-watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and cry while listening to Mitski is stronger than ever.

I’ve come up with a list of solutions to counteract these feelings of guilt:

  1. Lower your expectations. Before reading week started, I filled up my planner with things that needed to get done over the week. In hindsight, I was WAY too optimistic. I said I was going to work out every day without taking into consideration that some days I would be too sore. I even aspired to finish going over one chapter a day for my Abnormal Psych mid-term next week without thinking about the fact that, a) I would be hanging out with friends too b) I’m not a superhero and do not possess such strong powers of concentration.
  2. Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality. Getting some work done is better than getting no work done. Studying half a chapter instead of 3 chapters a day is still progress. Taking the stairs instead of the escalator doesn’t even come close to working out to a Jillian Michaels DVD but your AppleWatch still counts that as something and even congratulates you for doing the bare minimum hehe. TLDR: don’t beat yourself up for not getting something done in a day. Divide it in chunks, if that helps
  3. The fact that you have to be productive all the time is a myth. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for enjoying some me-time. Working ALL the time is ironically not as productive as you would think. For example, when I’m stuck on a WordScapes puzzle, I close the app, take a break for a while, get back to it and BOOM, I almost always figure out what the last word is with minimal effort. Bottom line is taking breaks IS an essential part of the work process. Let your brain simmer and soak it in.

So, you get the point. Go forth and enjoy this well-deserved break guilt-free. You’re doing amazing, sweetie.

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