Stress management 101

Sometimes you just get buried under your to-do list. Under every single thing. Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes it’s due to a strange set of circumstances, yet other times it’s just for the hell of it, because of Fate, sitting somewhere high up on Triglav with a desire to laugh at you. And then you feel guilty about it and do more harm than good, because if you aren’t working, you’re worrying. And even when you’re working, you’re worrying, because you think that suddenly you should miraculously be able to stretch yourself beyond human limits.

By nature, I am not a procrastinator, I do things on time and I’m rather good at planning my schedule so that I would never run out of time. But still …


Okay, now I feel a bit better.

After working at the PODIM Conference* (I’m sure a post about this and my 95-hour working week is still coming), I came back to the Netherlands, completely certain I have everything under control.

(Hint: I by no means have everything under control.)

*The PODIM Conference is the biggest and most influential conference in the Alps-Adriatic region, and I’ve written or translated this sentence so many times that it is imprinted firmly in my memory and I could probably rattle it off even if you wake me up in the middle of the night. As far as marketable skills go, it’s pretty useless.

I feel like Troy who went to get pizza and came back to a burning apartment.

Now deadlines are coming, for essays, research plans and research work and my MA graduation ceremony and summer departure for Slovenia, and to top it all off, the weather is beautiful, which really doesn’t contribute towards my will to sit behind a computer all day, stuck in my room.

Nice weather here means above 20° and sunshine (which the Dutch immediately take advantage off and leap into the canals).

All these things are good things; even essays are fun, because I can finally write on a topic I’m truly interested in. The problem is this: when I’m stressed and have a lot of work to do, I feel guilty for the stupidest reasons. I feel like I shouldn’t take the time for my most basic needs. That’s why I started working on it (because, as you know, it’s best to introduce change into your life when you have so much work you aren’t handling anything).

No matter how many deadlines wait for me behind the corner, I’m trying to take care of myself. That’s harder than one might think, because it doesn’t only include things such as enough sleep and normal food. I’m taking care of that, somehow. Other things, the ones I didn’t think of at first, are more complicated.

15 minutes of playing the violin when I feel like my brain will burst. A walk. A run down a forest path*. Yoga. A few minutes of reading a book that isn’t on the topic of linguistics or musicology. Playing video games, where I can blow up some zombies or hit trees with my car. At the end of the day, also writing my blog, which I have been seriously neglecting in the past month.

*When I say “run”, I mean 15-20 minutes of something that’s a combination of running and walking, because I’m far from being fit enough to run. But I’m trying.

**That isn’t exactly the point of this game, because you’re supposed to drive on the road, but it’s not my fault that sports cars are so difficult to control.


The path that witnesses most of my panting … I mean running.

And these things help. They help me keep a clear head, flexible fingers and common sense. And now I’m off to work. (In the afternoon, a walk awaits.)