Here’s a fresh spring look I’ve been loving to wear these days and some tips to help you reduce stress to acceptable levels!
Public holidays in The Netherlands fully concentrate on spring. From April through June we get to enjoy some interruptions during the week, but my favorite are the long weekends. Long weekends truly allow for relaxation. And do I need to relax…
2017 has been quite a tough year. To start with, it’s the last year of my Ph.D. The last year of a Ph.D. is always tough. There’s just way too much to do in a very limited amount of time. Finish projects, write the papers (and get them published by a respectable journal in the field), complete and submit the thesis, figure out what you want to do next (on progress as I last talked about here), get yourself a job… It’s not only the last year of my Ph.D. but also the last year of my boyfriend’s Ph.D. and the last year of some of my best friends’ Ph.D. (Abbie, Sascha, Hedi, Smriti – Hi girls!). We understand each other and we support each other, but inevitably we also surround each other with the amount of stress and pressure we feel.
Life is not only made of Ph.D.s however, and when you least expect major events just take over. I’ve been the saddest and the happiest this year. I’ve been through a deep loss when grandpa passed away, but I was also blessed with the birth of my niece (together with her brother they are the joy of my world!). It’s a roller coaster of emotions…
So how have I been trying to stay calm and keep stress at an acceptable level?
Shot by C.E.; Edit & Concept by The petite Cat
Shop the look
First, it’s important to not be too hard on yourself. While dealing with stress and difficult times, you need to be patient. Not every day will be your most productive day, not every day you’ll accomplish all the items on the ‘To Do’ list, not every day you’ll feel motivated or energized, not every day you’ll be your best. And that’s ok.
Every day is a new day and I always see it as a reset point. A chance to start over, to get int the routine again. Having a daily routine really helps me to stay calm and focused. Whatever it is that you plan for the day, go through it. Missing the yoga class you had planned just so that you can stay at work another 45 min is not going to work. Not only you’ll be disappointed at yourself that you missed your class, your body will complain and chances are you don’t get much done in that time anyway.
So optimize. Set strict times for work and time for yourself. Always allow some relaxation into your day – I will try to sew, knit, read, watch tv, go for a walk, have dinner with friends, or get some ice cream. When possible say no to tasks that don’t necessarily need to be done by you and that you don’t enjoy doing or that can cause you unnecessary stress (in my case this would be for example to volunteer to give a talk at an outreach event or to accept a blog campaign with no reward and a tight timeline).
I also love to go to yoga since it helps to relax the body and the mind, and I frequently start my day with a couple minutes of meditation (I use the Headspace app) to help me get calmer and focused. And don’t forget to eat and sleep properly. Those are key! On the weekend it’s good to do some activities outside, like going to the beach, cycling through the park, picnic, etc. When the weather isn’t so keen, there’s a great chance we’ll be visiting a museum or having brunch somewhere.
Today is yet another public holiday. I have to finish my second paper, rehearse my talk (that I’m giving at a conference in Rome this week) and pack for the trip. But there’s dance class tonight and a great chance of some spare minutes to insert an invisible zip on the skirt I’m making!