Less than one week left! It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that going home for the break will be totally wonderful. I want to spend as much time as possible cocooned in a chunky blanket with a book. That’s my only real goal at the moment, and I’m feeling pretty good about that.
Reflecting on what happened, what I learned, how I felt after any new experience is usually a good way for me to process, especially when I get to the end and start feeling frazzled and crazy. My brain gets stuck in the future, and mapping out what I’ve learned helps me slow down.
If you have any other tools or practices you use for reflection, tell me in the comments. I’d love to hear them.
We adapt pretty quickly to new environments. I guess this is most easily seen in retrospect, as most lessons are. College didn’t feel like a speedy adjustment, but for picking up and leaving home to go live in another place with new people and a new schedule, I was surprised by how soon it all felt normal and routine. Relationships take time. At the beginning of the semester, it felt like most people already had a core group of friends, but in reality, most everyone was nervous and uncomfortable and maybe a little lonely. Solid relationships take time to build because they’re the stronger, sturdier ones.
Needing time alone is okay. We’re all built differently. For me, high-energy social situations are enjoyable for a little while, but then I need to leave and spend time alone recuperating. That need for quiet can make me feel guilty or out of the loop at times, but it’s pretty deeply ingrained in my personality. And fighting with it makes me tired, so this semester has been a process of learning when to accept social invitations and when to respectfully decline to get that needed rest.
Fellow introverted friends, I highly recommend Quiet, by Susan Cain if you ever need validation for needing rest and alone time. Wanting to be home and homesickness aren’t mutually exclusive feelings. Sometimes home just sounds really good because it means bear hugs from dad, taking showers without flip-flops, and a fully stocked pantry complete with baking essentials and stashes of chocolate. The city is my new favorite background for snow. The city gets quiet and cozy, and the next day, even though the snow on the sidewalks and roads starts to get slushy and nasty, the trees and buildings where the snow has accumulated still look pristine. It’s nice.
Discomfort can do more good than ease. When I’m comfortable, I get complacent and distance myself the Lord. I’m in the process of understanding and accepting (albeit not super joyfully) that struggles, even suffering, draw my focus back where it should be and remind me I’m not in control and that that’s a good thing.
“Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4Losing fitness isn’t something to feel guilty about. I cut back on structured exercise and running a lot this semester. I still felt some guilt, but I’ve been trying to combat some of it by thinking about what’s most important to me. Being super fit isn’t something I want to be a top priority because that means its taking the place of something else that’s more important.
Study breaks are an act of self-care. The same goes for work breaks, writing breaks, research breaks, teaching breaks, and almost any other tiring, time consuming task.
Take a walk. Eat a snack. Talk to a friend. It’s scientifically proven to boost brain power, and it’ll make you feel more sane.
That’s all I’ve got for you. Hope you’re weathering the week.
Linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud.
What are your takeaways from this fall?