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?

  • Jennifer K

    Taking time out is so important, especially during revision and exam periods. I often go home during these times so that I’m not influenced by the work patterns of everyone around me and can take time out to walk the dog or go for lunch with my parents. I sometimes wonder if I could have scored higher marks had I worked a few more hours, but overall I know I’d rather be healthy than the highest scorer!
    Jennifer X
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    • ninegrandstudent

      I was away all of last week and was so much more relaxed away from coursemates – I didn’t realise their stress affected me so much! x

  • I cannot agree with this post any more. I took this approach in my second and third years of uni, and ended up getting the best grades I had yet. Working 24/7 is detrimental to your health as you highlighted and you can do very well in exams etc even without working constantly. Good luck for your last few months – I am sure you will be absolutely brilliant!

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

    • ninegrandstudent

      Fingers crossed I get the same outcome as you! x

  • This is so important to remember. I find myself feeling so unproductive after a long day that I just won’t get anything done. It’s so much better to acknowledge that feeling and take a few hours off and like you said you will probably be way more productive when you get back to work.

    Love, Eline | http://www.elinesreturnticket.blogspot.com

    • ninegrandstudent

      Oh definitely! x

  • Joanne

    I absolutely loved reading this, and it’s so true! Sometimes doing nothing for a short while helps you more than when you force yourself to keep going even though you’re already so mentally exhausted. I totally get this post. At one point I was also so stressed out with what seemed like a hundred tasks, but after taking a break for a whole day (being completely non-productive), I felt completely relieved and went back to work in a much better condition (leading to better outcomes). Great post, thanks for sharing! Xx

    Life in Blue Skies | A Fashion and Lifestyle Blog

    • ninegrandstudent

      I just keep trying to remember to take time out now, exams are getting closer so it’s easy to forget! x

  • Clare Purdy

    I find if i don’t get out at the weekends i struggle to focus at all at work in the week. i HAVE to do a walk of some kind, away from houses and pavements and into woods and fields or my head loses all focus. I wish i’d realised this at uni, i recon i’d have done a lot better than I did if i’d taken a few days off here and there.

    • ninegrandstudent

      I completely agree. I have to sit near a window too if I’m spending all day in the library – I need natural light! x

  • Hey- I was just scrolling through your post and has anyone ever told you a) you pull off dungarees SO well which is not fair but I suppose I will let you off and b) the guy in that photo with you looks like a young David Tennant, it really threw me for a minute. Are you sure he isn’t The Doctor??? 😀
    My favourite de-stress is reading books with my cat. He doesn’t read, he just purrs in an encouraging manner. 🙂 x

    • ninegrandstudent

      Thank you so much! And aha, I told him this and he wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or not! x