Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I'm feeling pretty burnt out. This isn't good. Because I'm also feeling the creep of the new academic year. Never have I dreaded it before. Never. But last year was so stressful that I can't stand the thought of this year.

And the problem is, I haven't really had any down time in a long time. My week of true vacation in Hawaii was ruined by my accident and my five days in hospital. My week of bliss at dance camp - the last week of August - is now cancelled because of that. Those were my two weeks this year free of work. My trip to France was lovely, but it was a research trip. My two-day getaway with R near Scary City was marred by the fun ovarian scare. My long weekend in Nearest Metropolis was truncated by the bed bugs. Vacations are not meant to be, for me, it seems.

And I've just been plowing through, machinically, trying to get far enough ahead with my stuff before the year starts that I don't feel like I'm drowning. So I churn through it, anxiously. Today I: finished writing my job letter, wrote some of the current book chapter I'm on, drafted about a quarter of my revised SSHRC grant application, and closely read and commented on an essay for my co-edited collection (which was a disappointment and will require significant revision - and I had such high hopes for this one!). I didn't touch the other looming things - course design for the fall that is not even finished. There's administrative service that I'm supposed to be doing - more growing of my program. I feel exhausted, and it's August. This does not bode well.

I wonder if I can take Labour Day weekend off. If I can plan for a full three days OFF just before classes begin. I wonder if I can afford the time. I don't even know what I'd do. I'd be in Scary City. Maybe I'd just read novels and go for swims. And walks - if all goes well, I should be coming off crutches and able to walk properly again just before that weekend. I think I need to do it.


Brigindo said...

I definitely think you should take the 3 days off. Three days of reading novels, swimming and walking without crutches can be pretty sweet.

I'm feeling somewhat similar. I haven't had the mishaps you've been through but have definitely not taken any downtime this summer except for 2 days at the beach with Boy. I'm usually so excited by now that the new year is starting but right now everything just feels 'eh' and stress-ey.

Take the time. It will do you a world of good.

K said...

I second brigindo: take the three days off. Sleep in, read novels, get take-out, do whatever you can to not work and just relax! You need it and deserve it.

Psych Post Doc said...

It sounds like you can really use the 3 days off. Just relax without any plans. Sometimes it's enough to just sit around and not have anywhere to be.

medieval woman said...

The best thing you said was that you finished your job letter! I'm happy to hear that and will be sending you tons of good vibes.

And you absolutely DO need to take 3 days off! I'm sorry things have been so helter-skelter lately - you have gotten a lot of crap out of the way this year - I predict the next 7 years will be awesome! :)


Psychgrad said...

Sounds like a very productive day.
I think I need to take a page of out the "working for short chunks of time" philosphy.

I agree with the others - if you can afford it, definitely take some time off for yourself. Try to relax while in home city too!

Sisyphus said...

Yes, can you take a non-traveling vacation? Like go see a really fun mindless movie, or get a really nice lunch out somewhere in town and sit there people-watching?

Or, --- oooh, I know: massage. You definitely should do a spa day vacation.

Maggie said...

What they said. Mini-vacays can be just as helpful/restorative as actual vacays. And you need one. Having just read all that a certain intrepid blogger spent all of last year accomplishing, I can say with AUTHORITY that you need one :)

Maude Lebowski said...

yes, i second and third everyone. if ever there were a person more deserving or in need of a break, it is you dear friend! i love lOVE it when i have three days alone--that is by myself, no commitments, no plans to clean, write, or even leave the house (because sometimes, for me, even though pedicures are relaxing, it's more stressful to have to leave the house to get there if i just want to relax). on the other hand, spa day, massage, all sound very nice and rejuvenating.

girl, take it! you're going to have work to do whether you take a mini stay at home vacay or not, right?

take care of yourself!!

Hilaire said...

All - thanks for the great suggestions. A massage or spa thingy would be a great kick-off to this, actually - perfect.

Also, there's good (gross) people-watching in Scary City at this time of year, so a good lunch of that variety would be just the thing. But otherwise, novels and walks to go swimming. It's ridiculously exciting.

MW - Thanks for the encouragement on the job letter! Hopefully there will actually be positions I can apply for - I may be getting slightly ahead of myself. I think I wanted to draft it just because I realized how much dread I was feeling about going back.

Hilaire said...

Ooh - in fact, there's a very nice day spa about 30 seconds from my house. I'm goign to book some exfoliating massage thingy and A REFLEXOLOGY TREATMENT. I had one once and it was amazing. I must do that. Thank you, Sis - and others - for suggesting that. It will kick off my Labour Day weekend mini-vacay.

Anonymous said...

Something else you might want to try is classes in the Alexander Technique. F. Matthias Alexander developed a protocol for "the use of the self" which can be both fascinating and rewarding. You can apply it to anything, it doesn't require doing a specific activity.

Coming off crutches (congrats!) it would help with streamlining movement patterns and ensuring that you're not holding onto any compensatory techniques that have helped you through this period.

Coming into a tense situation, it could help with recognizing and managing responses to tension.

I used to have a physical therapist who talked about setting up reduced rates for his clients who studied AT because they were so much more responsive and better able to adapt /adopt changes.

You might ask the dance or music faculty if they know someone good, and the massage people at the spa might as well. Like anything else, it's worth finding the right folks to work with.

I am a proponent of group lessons, having learned a lot more about what was going on by watching it happen with others. After that, individual lessons and reading materials were useful.