Holidays: free time versus to dos

13054818_10209956178967535_1260018090_o.jpgToo often we find ourselves lost in our every day routine, sometimes not even able to follow our routine because of all the deadlines and work assignments we have to deal with. The words “I’ll do this later” or “this can wait” suddenly become a great way to procrastinate because we seem to be too busy to deal with any personal projects or household chores.

But finally, the time of the holidays comes. The temptation to use this free time to “relax”, and “enjoy some well-deserved free time” is strong. But I often realize that as soon as I fall into this “free time” loophole, I end up not doing much of my holidays, and then it is too late. The exams are here. We have to go back to work. And in the end, yes, I generally manage to carry out the most important things I have to do during this free time (usually studying for exams, or writing papers), but I do not feel fulfilled nor relaxed because I did not take advantage of this free time to take care of myself, to pursue hobbies,  to create new projects or to find new interests.

I am always mad at myself when I realized that I did not push myself to work on side projects, or even only do (more) productive things when I had the time. It is so frustrating. But for me it usually works that way : when I am busy like crazy, this is when I find motivation, new ideas, new passions. And I let myself go during more relaxed periods – only to regret it later. So I decided this time to anticipate this feeling of frustration in order to be able to counter it, to suppress it.

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These holidays are a bit particular because I have two weeks, but they also are my revision weeks as my exam start on the 2nd of May. That means that in addition to planning some activities, I also need to schedule some serious studying too (sigh). However, I decided to change my perspective about it and consider my need to work as a good thing. This  will keep me busy and going, and other activities can then be a sort of “reward” after having worked on a chapter or a subject for instance. In fact, having “holidays obligations”, even though they might not sound good to you, are beneficial (to me at least) because there is nothing more upsetting than waking up early on a sunny, free, morning, full of motivation, but having nothing planned. I usually do not know where to start, or do not have much on my to do list and feel lost, which causes my motivation to wane.

But time is flying. We already are Tuesday night, and I am back from a weekend in my boyfriend’s grandparents’ village near Bordeaux. Let’s say that it was a very resourceful weekend that included a lot of food (& wine, I’m not going to lie), walks, and TV (hello “Lord of the Rings” that I watched until 3 am!)…but no work. (I nonetheless took some pictures that I’ve included in the article).

Fortunately, we got back yesterday night and I managed to pull myself together this morning instead of wallowing in my non-productivity. I know this happen too often for some of us, it is a real struggle ! So I set up the alarm for 8 am this morning, and worked out (a bit of everything : 30 minutes of fitness, a 20 minute run in the sun alongside the Garonne and 20 minutes of yoga and stretching), studied, did some meal prep (dinner tonight was homemade cucumber and avocado brown rice sushis !). But I also allowed myself some YouTube and Netflix time. After all, I’m in holidays !

In fact, there is no secret : willpower is a muscle. You must train it to keep your new habits or create new ones. And even though the period of the holidays can be tough, it is also a great opportunity for a fresh start ! Just be consistent, and push your mind.

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