March is going to be a very, very busy month for me. So busy that I’m writing and pre-scheduling this post in January so that I don’t have to think about it. Since January is also kind of busy, this is post going to be lighter on analysis than most, but it’s also going to be on-topic. How do we take care of ourselves as museum professionals and grad students?
– I have learned from other grad students that it’s important to stock up on frozen meals for a few weeks before final papers and projects are due each semester. I often feel guilty about it at the time, thinking that I’m setting myself up to be unhealthy by not buying fresh foods, but during the couple of weeks that are really crunch time, it helps a lot to have well-rounded meals on hand. Remember you can always eat a salad and save the TV dinner for another time if the mood strikes, but you can’t save a salad for after the semester if you’ve already bought the ingredients.
– Don’t forget to take at least one session off every time you go to a conference (I learned this one the hard way). If you are at a hotel, chill in your room or go to the hotel pool or gym. If you’re commuting to the conference, take a walk or go to a nearby cafe. The amount that you’ll feel rejuvenated will be well worth the “missed” time.
– Speaking of taking time off, it’s important to take time for yourself when juggling school, work, and homework, too! Almost everyone will tell you this. I still struggle with feeling guilty for taking time for myself, some of the time, but I know that it works. I watch TV, swim, knit, or spend time with friends. Find the activities that help you take your mind off your to-do list and the things that you get excited about, and prioritize not losing touch with those things.
– Last but not least, go to museums for fun! It can be hard to turn work-brain off, and of course it’s valuable to analyze the exhibits that you see in other museums, but I think that having positive, non-work-related experiences in museums can be really restorative and energizing for museum professionals. After all, these are the places we’re passionate about.
Update from actual March: I am, as predicted, quite busy right now, and I have been for over a month and don’t see myself getting less busy for a while. In the interest of taking some things off of my plate, I’m going to stop posting The Wider World posts for a few months. The rest of the blog will update as normal!