Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer break? What summer break?

I have worked at a university for almost 15 years (holy moly, that's a long time) and typically, our summers have meant a slow period. The requests for help diminish, people take vacations, and the days slide by like molasses out of a bottle until August, when things ramp up again.

This year, though, things haven't been slow at all. In fact, this has been the busiest summer I can remember. One reason is our new student union opens in a week, there's lots of moving things from one place to another and making sure everyone has everything they need to do their jobs in time for fall semester. It makes the days fly by, which can be a good thing, but it also makes for some stressful times, which isn't so good.

I'm not the type of person who eats when I am stressed. I tend to eat when I'm bored, so this summer has been good for me, diet-wise. But I am the type of person who can get overwhelmed easily, and sort of freak out a bit when I think I have too much on my plate (ha! unintentional diet reference!). To combat potential freak-outs, I make to-do lists. I write down on a piece of paper the tasks that I need to get done, and cross them off as I complete them. The physical act of seeing the list get whittled down is reassuring and helps to remind me that I get what I need to get done completed eventually, one task at a time.

I find that listening to music will help relax my stressed self, too. Some current stress-relieving favorites are:

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Clem Snide - Your Favorite Music

Metric - Fantasies

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Do you eat? Sleep? Create? Make lists? Whatever it is, make sure it's good for your mind and body. The last thing you need when stressed out is to feel guilty about choices you make to cope with that stress. Find a healthy outlet, whatever that is for you, and find time to incorporate that outlet into your day-to-day routine.

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