Plan time for your family and yourself

To my academic friends, I know you work hard each day and oftentimes you work two shifts a day at your day job. It gets tiring, doing the same tasks day in and day out.

Sometimes our families may be sidetracked as we prepare for that course we were given last minute to teach, write the grant application that is due in two days, while still conducting our research.

Most of us tend to pay less attention to ourselves, grabbing the drink or snack to return to the work, missing exercise workouts, and sleeping fewer hours each night. Coffee becomes our sustenance as we nose dive into our papers and laptops.

But the relentless pursuit of our work duties tend to reduce the joy in our lives. There will come a time when you are tired and maxed out, when you won’t want to look at another manuscript. And then you snap at the understanding and loving family you have and immediately regret it.

But, you don’t have to reach that point.

Plan self-care

Instead, plan self-care for yourself each day or week. Take the time to see to your exercise and meals each day. They are to sustain you.

Have a hobby that you indulge in each day or at least weekly. Hobbies refresh and stretch you. They distract you from the mundane everyday work and associated frustrations.

Keep a list of activities that rejuvenate you and once a week do one of the activities. Keep your list handy when you plan for your week.

Plan your weekly self-care routine and book it on your calendar as an appointment. Your me time should be non-negotiable. And if your self-care time is interrupted by your kid’s new activity, don’t sweat it. Instead, adapt your self-care routine or do it during your kid’s new activity.

Plan time for your family

Your family is your main support system. Plan your time with them. Distinguish the normal every day routines from weekly restoring activities.

Take a mini-vacay for a day or weekend with the family. A beach day or weekend is always welcomed.

Or, involve your daughter or son in your hobbies. Teach them something different from what they are learning in school. When you do this, you also teach them how to care for themselves.

Plan your longer holidays at the start of the year. Book the place to go. Maybe camping and hiking, visits to grandma and grandpa, out of city sightseeing, or even international travel.

Take action now

Take the time now to do two things:

  1. Find time on your calendar for daily and weekly self-care. Book blocks of hours, days, or weeks for activities with your family.
  2. Start two lists. One is a list of activities you can choose from for your self-care. And the other is a list of activities to do with your family.

When you step away from the race each day and take care of yourself and your family, you reconnect with yourself and with the family. In the process you rejuvenate yourself.

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