Work hard, play hard, rest hard

Aug 21, 2019

The programme manager on my master’s programme reminded me recently how important the ‘down’ time is and how beneficial it is to support long term study and focus.

As we are coming towards the end of summer time (albeit having experienced rain, wind, storms and some sun) and begin to consider another term and year of study and education it is important to place an emphasis now on ‘self-care’ and serious rest and relaxation.

What does that mean for you?

Self-care comes back to minding yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally.  As our worlds get busier and expectations on us grow and becoming increasingly demanding reminding yourself that your health is your wealth can help to set you up for a mentally and physically strong 2019/2020 academic year.

Physically

Take a break from work, home, commute, routine, etc. Any or all of the above help to break the cycle of what you’ve considered routine throughout the year.  If you haven’t had a chance to holiday or get away even changing the commute route can be a breath of fresh air. If you walk or cycle get a bus, if you bus it normally perhaps get off a stop earlier and wander through town or through a different route. Often it can be the little changes that make a difference more or different activity can offer us opportunities for exercise or walking where we might not have normally taken it. Combined with healthy eating can make a huge difference or if you’ve become bored with your diet and food choices - make new ones! Enjoy your food again and remind yourself of what you loved growing up - it’s okay to make it interesting and fun again – the only one concerned about it should be you.

Mentally

Change the radio or podcast for a week or so from your normal sound track to shake up your commute.  If you regularly listen to debate or news on the radio, swap it for a feel good exercise track, a funny podcast or classical music  - try it and see what new ideas or thoughts come to mind.  If you take lunch with the same crowd and find the conversation becoming repetitive or realise that you don’t always feel upbeat after it then perhaps shake it up, try somewhere new with someone new and change that conversation.  There are lots of lunchtime gigs for example National Gallery tours or National Concert Hall or talks on Eventbrite that you could tune into.  

Emotionally

Caring about work, our colleagues, our organisations, our families our friends and loved ones can all take its toll.   Often you don’t realise it has until something small has the knack of totally grounding us or stopping us in our tracks.  If you feel overwhelmed or stressed or emotional, take time out for you, mute the What’s App group chat, switch off notifications, try to avoid checking mails or calls from home and really begin to value you and to notice times and triggers for emotional upheaval. If your organisation has an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) use it! It’s anonymous - your organisation doesn’t know who has used it - only that it is being paid for monthly so to know that employees are benefiting from it is what they want to hear.   Remind yourself of your ‘circle of influence’ the areas that you can influence in your life but more importantly the areas that your stress and mental toll has absolutely no influence at all on and try to bring it back to those it can.  ‘Where your mind goes, so to does your energy’ – use it wisely.

I hope that you can take some tips from this piece, we can hear the same message and feel it’s a pie in the sky notion until it actually means something so take things day by day to strengthen your resolve and to set you up for another academic year of focus, fun and fitness (physically, mentally and emotionally)

The Institute through its many services is here to support you to realise your true potential – the best of luck with it all.

Ciara Tallon is a Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist with Chartered Accountants Ireland, working with newly qualified members.