Lifestyle: The Importance of Taking Time Out

These last few weeks have been busy. Super busy. Some days I’ve been in the library between 9-5, leaving only for lectures, before returning after dinner to cram a few more hours in. Nothing is as soul-destroying as watching a gorgeously sunny day whilst you’re trapped at a desk – and knowing that you’ve got weeks ahead of the same thing. Whilst I do try to switch up where I work, it’s just a simple fact that until the end of May, I will be spending more time in the library than I do at home.

 photo 2016-03-30 11.48.44_zps3onl6v7k.jpgThat said, I know (perhaps more than anyone!) the benefits of taking some time off to relax.

In my second year I revised so hard, so continuously, that I gave myself severe RSI. I was physically unable to hold a pen three days before my first exam and, whilst intense physio and painkillers meant I got through, I have no doubt it impacted my grades. There was an exam I was in tears from pain, and yep, it was my worst mark.

But it’s not just physical health that improves from taking time out.

 photo 2015-12-08 12.03.46_zpsmfc6fekb.jpg photo University Goals1_zps3a31ucry.jpgAfter a couple of nights spent tossing and turning, after days spent in the silent section of the library left my voice feeling squeaky whenever I used it, after hours spent looking at a screen, peering at numbers, tapping away at my calculator, scribbling formula, I’d had enough. I was tired, grumpy, demotivated and stressed. No-one can work solidly all-day, every-day for much longer than a few weeks, and I’d hit my wall.

If I’d have had my way, I’d have just treated myself to a long shower and a cuppa in bed, before cracking on with the library-routine. W however had other ideas, and forced me into the car in the direction of the seaside. A few hours in the sun, a good long stroll, talking about something other than mortality (yep, hiiii student actuary!), it all did me the world of good. My shoulders relaxed from the tension I hadn’t noticed was there. I spent longer outdoors than I had in total throughout the previous week. I took time to eat my lunch, not bolting it down whilst reading notes. I browsed shops without thinking about what I *should* be doing.

 photo 2016-03-30 12.34.38_zpseju3r2ms.jpg photo 2016-03-30 12.34.06_zps8whsytrx.jpgFor the first night in a while, I slept properly. I woke up feeling like I’d actually slept.

And the next day, sat back in the silent section, I was twice as productive as I’d been before. The questions I’d been struggling with made so much more sense, my mind was clearer, I was able to think things through more easily. My work didn’t suffer from taking 8 or so hours off, I didn’t find myself frantically rushing to get things done.

 photo 2016-03-23 10.06.04_zpsxx9xnkk5.jpg photo 2016-03-23 10.05.39_zpsupkom4jr.jpgSince that day, I’ve made far more of an effect to take some time out. I’ll make myself a yummy egg-related breakfast. I’ll come home and cook myself a nice dinner, rather than reheat a meal I’d batch-cooked. I’ll put my work away and watch some TV on my lunch break. I’ll take a wander round campus on a particularly nice day. I might not be working 24/7, but the work I’m getting done is a whole lot more productive.

What do you do to take some time away from the stressful things in life?