Monday, April 02, 2007

How not to have a nervous breakdown

Anyone who knows me might guffaw at this post's title. After all, nervous breakdowns and I are quite intimate. But, I have managed to stay fairly sane around my MFA work. So I thought I'd write about things I've found helpful.

First and foremost, I give myself a 5-7 day break after handing in my submission. I might work on stuff, but I don't have to. During that time I can read books not on my reading list, watch movies, catch up on house stuff I've been putting off, etc. I generally try to plan something nice for the weekend after a submission. This time, I'm going to NY to visit my family. This time off really helps me feel like my degree has not totally taken over my life.

Generally there's one weeknight a week that I don't work on MFA stuff. It tends to be Wednesday, and Brian and I tend to do something nice that night.

On the weekends, work is definitely a priority, but I always squeeze some not-work into each day. This weekend, on Saturday I had brunch with some friends, then worked for most of the day, and then went to a movie at night. Sunday I played tennis and then worked for most of the day.

That's about all. There are still some areas where I'd like to be saner--namely in not freaking out and doubting that I'll ever be any good at this stuff. Have any tips for keeping a balance between work (schoolwork or otherwise) and life? Best Blogger Tips


Melodye said...

Hi there! You introduced yourself on my blog this morning (newport2newport on Livejournal). Glad to "meet" you; thanks for stopping by...any friend of Boston Erin's is definitely a friend of mine!

I have one more bracelet (lucky you, heh). Still want it? Send me your snail mail address: newport2newport AT gmail DOT com

Becca said...

If you've read any of my posts lately (or anytime, actually!) you know that I have major "issues" with balance. From the description of your weekend, it sounds like you're doing pretty well carving out some time to enjoy life.

Life is so busy for everyone it seems. One of my blogger friends told me she actually schedules "me" time on her calendar, as something to look forward to. I may have to resort to that myself!

Bug said...

Becca, yes yes yes! I do schedule me time. I think everyone should!

Tori said...

Sounds like you are doing some great things to get this balance.

As the nicer weather approaches (slowly, but surely) make sure that you take time to smell the fresh air and get outside.

Kerry said...

I try to do something similar when I'm in classes on Sunday. My plan is to always get things done before Saturday so that I can enjoy my one day off. It's really helpful.

And it makes me happy when I get to school on Sundays and everyone else is talking about being up until 1:00 a.m. finishing homework or studying!

Of course, this also means that I actually never get around to cleaning my house...I've been digging around the clean clothes laundry basket for weeks now to get clothes for work! :)

TI said...

Good advice. Now I will go and not have a nervous breakdown today! I do similar, though I don't take that long off after the sub because I think I would feel too much pressure. I usually just read that week though. I've had some guilt about all the time I am giving to my MFA that I used to give to R, but we always do something together Friday and Sat nights, and always take from 4 onwards on Saturdays for a longer date than usual. The thing is, there is stil hte issue of not being emotionally "there" sometimes even when we're together because I'm so preoccupied with the MFA. What do you do about thator does that not happen to you? Thanks for sharing your strategies.

January said...

I didn't know you played tennis. Or maybe I did. I'm going to take it up again this spring so maybe we can get together and hit!

Bug said...

TI, I def feel the same way. It's really hard. "Luckily" for me, B is also in school so at least I don't feel guilty for being busy since he is too. Though the not feeling emotionally there part is still hard. I've been trying to involve B more in my MFA stuff, asking his opinions about stories, etc. That seems to be helping a little. I really wish I could amp that up so he could be as into it as I am. Maybe someday!

Jan, Yes! FC plays too. We can have a blogging tennis match! (I use match loosely because 1, I'm not that good and 2, I'm not at all competitive)

Repeater said...

I should have read this earlier to prevent meltdown