As I near the end of my first year of PhDing, I’ve realised (and been told) that I haven’t really taken proper time off. I’ve never been good at planning breaks – with all of the hats on overlapping schedules, it doesn’t ever feel like a sensible/practical time to take a break. I get stressed out just thinking about taking time off, because of the thought of having the catch up when the holiday is over. At the moment I’m tired a lot – the Glasgow-Edinburgh commute doesn’t really help, and August in Edinburgh has been a test of patience that I pretty much failed.
My “holidays” so far include a week in bed between Christmas and New Year (caught a cold, ended up reading academic books in between Disney movies), a freelance work trip to India for 2 weeks, and a couple of days added onto conference trips in Portugal and London. Then there are the days where no work has happened – that’s a day off in hindsight, right? A lot of my days off have also happened when there wasn’t really anything to do than catch up on housework or laze about at home.
I’ve been pretty good about taking weekends off during summer, but during school term-time I usually have freelance work and rehearsals at the weekend. With the next few months already planned out for fieldwork and conferences, it’ll be Christmas before I take a scheduled break – I’ve already decided I’m taking TWO WHOLE WEEKS OFF.
I know I need to get better at taking time off, so here’s the part where I ask for advice:
How do/did you plan time off? Is there ever a “good time” to take a holiday? What do you do during time off? How strict are you about emailing and “light” work? What are your tips for this apparent workaholic?