Monday, 14 May 2012

How to keep sane in times of stress

It hadn't been a good day; sanity was a distant memory.
— Terry Pratchett (Pyramids)

Another weekend past. As usual I didn't finish a third of the things I set out to do. Ye gods, remind me to never study more than 100 % at the same time ever again. I seem to have a harder time to handle stress constructively the older I get. Wasn't it supposed to be the other way around? At least I've learned the hard way to get my priorities right; nowadays I try my best to put my health above results and deadlines on the neverending to do-list. 

That would mostly explain this week's lack of progress. Have been feeling under the weather both physically and mentally the past week, made all the worse by too much stress and things to do. I think I've managed to turn it around; I feel happy and motivated again, and my body seems to have returned to something resembling health. It took most of my energy and time just to get back on track, though, which means the ever-growing pile of stuff to do has grown even higher in the meantime. Oh well, I'll work my way through it, one thing at a time. And stand the shame of meeting my supervisor without having any work at all to show, if that's what it takes. Some day I'll graduate, but since I value enjoying the journey there higher than doing so quickly and with best results I think I'm gonna keep having sanity above homework on my priority list.

Speaking of sanity, apparently doing practical things for a change can be good when trying to keep from thinking too much. This weekend I've assembled the aforementioned book-case (called Billy, of course), while humming this tune:

Now there is no longer any lack of shelf-space in my home. Hooray! This is a very dangerous thing though; what is now to stop me from buying more books than I can afford? Hah, the i-landsproblem (please enlighten me to the english term!) of today, I suppose.

Another therapeutic thing is watching things grow! We've started cultivating things on our terrace (isn't it just awesome that we have a bloody terrace at our new apartment?), and small green things are coming up out of the soil. Whee, it's like some kind of magic! Allright so maybe I'm just a physicist getting over-excited just because I don't understand living things, but you've gotta admit it's pretty cool taking care of plants that were just small seeds when you got them until they turn into things that you can eat. I'm not sure how well it will turn out since I haven't been gardening or anything since I helped my parents back when we had a garden and I was really small. But we're learning, and this is kind of an interesting experiment. Like I said, as a physicist I'm not used to working with living things, but I'll do my best not to fuck things up.

I've also heard that eating healthy things and on a regular basis is good for keeping the sanity intact. These past few days have included awesome smoothies with avocado, bananas and chocolate; enchiladas with chili sauce, potatoes, pumpkin seeds and nettles (they're not just for soup and burning yourself, you know!); home-made pizzas with lots of vegetables and fresh basil; and pie with chick peas, broccoli and chanterelles. Clearly a success in the kitchen-domain, in other words.

Last but not least, a couple of walks in the wonderful weather probably did much for my well-being as well. It's been windy and rainy for days, and as I went out about an hour before sunset yesterday the raining had stopped, but the briskness still lingered. None of the pesky heat, just some evening sun, dew in the grass, fragrant flowers all around, and the wind in my hair. And, since I live just by the edge of town, animals running and flying around everywhere. If you go out around sunset (and probably around sunrise too, I wouldn't know) here you can be almost sure to spot at least three of the following: pheasants, hedgehogs, cats, bats, mice and rabbits.

Am I ready for being punched in the face by the fact that it's Monday tomorrow? Probably not, but I guess I have given myself the best possible prospects of picking up and assembling the pieces of myself after the blow.

Love and sanity,

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