Q: How do you distinguish between self-care and procrastination? I love the ‘treat yourself’ culture and feel like I use it as an excuse sometimes to just slack off. Any advice on how to balance pushing yourself and taking a break?
A: I believe most would agree when I say this is a very common problem! I’ve just finished my university degree and I battled with this constantly! It’s great that you recognise that self-care is important and that we must try and find a good balance in order to keep ourselves in our most productive state for work, however how do we do this?
Talking from my own experiences I found that finding a balance was not linear – each day was different depending on my mood and emotional state. If I was very stressed and my workload was causing me stress then I found trying to achieve a higher workload was actually counter-productive. If I was to push myself too hard the quality of my work would decrease and I’d actually end up causing more work for myself by having to go back over the work I thought I had achieved.
What I did find that helped me was setting myself a goal and pre-planning my ‘breaks’. There are actually many hours in a day and we sometimes forget these what with having to factor in lunch and dinner etc. by pre-planning your breaks you can be strict with yourself whilst achieving a good workload and having that all important downtime.
I also made sure that I engaged in something that I really enjoyed when I had my breaks; being able to fully relax and take my mind off of the work I had waiting for me.
I think a good overall answer to this question is balance, find your balance and you’re off to a good start. Remember to always be kind to yourself and put your wellbeing first! If things still seem too much then maybe reaching out to tutors or module leaders will be beneficial for you.
Good luck in all your studies, you got this!