It has been quite some time since I’ve last written a post. Life has been full and my mind has been preoccupied with all things related to Internship applications. The details of this are not important but I’ve come out of the last few foggy, stressful, busy months feeling positive about how I’ve handled life thus far. I made the conscious effort to put myself first in order to meet the application deadlines with grace and ease. Lord knows I don’t always feel the grace and ease, as I experience anxiety on a somewhat regular basis. Matt, my friends and family can attest to my mini meltdowns. But, who knows if my stress levels would have been even higher if I tried to maintain my typical full daily schedule?
Putting myself first has felt selfish. It is strange saying no to work collaborations, invitations, trips, happy hours, and even taking phone calls when I’m in the zone. It seemed odd to want my entire weekend open and unscheduled so that I could have 8 hours to spend at a coffee shop on a Saturday, on my terms and when I wanted. It hasn’t just been the protection of my time but my energy as well.
These current life stressors have been an energy drain in a different way from coursework or other deadlines. I’ve needed to carefully plan my days out in order to recharge my batteries in preparation for the next round of approaching essay revisions and cover letters. This has required me to consider what gives me energy versus what saps my energy. While I used to write and find time to be productive in the evenings, lately I have risen early in the morning to get a few hours of work done while I’m still fresh-eyed and caffeinated.
I’ve gravitated more to my yoga practice, as it typically feels more grounding and soothing, versus the clarity and freedom that running typically lends. I’ve remained committed to marathon training but also more compassionate towards myself with not pushing through injury and fatigue (most of the time:), as this is one more pressure I don’t want to put upon myself.
I’ve been more mindful of preparing healthy foods to bring with me during the day. Having healthy salads, proteins, and tasty sacks allows me to honor my mind, body, and soul and gives me the energy to train for a marathon and have the ability to focus during the day. This small change has made a significant difference. Historically I have been a stress-eater, mindlessly snacking and munching away while working. I am using food in a constructive versus destructive way and being conscious with my food choices.
I’ve also been honest with myself and others with how I’ve been fairing under this pressure. A few years ago I would have put on my “happy face” and told everyone that I was totally great and handeling my shit. This inauthenticity suppresses what I’m going through and leaves me disconnected from people. By doing that, there is no space to acknowledge my own suffering and simply ‘be’ with how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking. By being authentic, I’ve also been able to accept the compassion and support from others because I’ve let them in to my internal experience.
In many ways this journey of Internship has only begun. Soon, I find out if I will be asked to interview at any of these Internship sites. I will certainly keep the online world informed about my whereabouts and how all of this is going! I want to express my gratitude to my friends, family, and loved ones both near and far who have not only been understanding but supportive of this crazy PhD process. I can feel ya’ll rooting for me and it makes a HUGE difference!
Lastly, I have managed to keep this all in perspective. I chose to pursue my PhD and no one ever said it would be easy. Many people are struggling with life suffering much greater than I. I am blessed and lucky to have the life challenges that I do.