It's very ironic that this week we decided to talk about balancing a life of STEM and being in our 20's because my life is STRESSFUL right now. I have finals coming up, meetings, presentations, and this huge exam on May 15th. So suffice it to say, balance has been on my mind a lot lately.
Now there are many ways I try to keep the balance in my life, most of which include chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. But practical ways I try to maintain a social life and my sanity, are to occasionally go out with some of my friends on the weekends, do a little shopping, sleep, and color actually...yes, they make coloring books for grown ups, I have three and they're really relaxing.
Either way, the best way to combat stress is to find an outlet. It could be working out, drawing, reading, going out with friends, playing an instrument, whatever your interests are, use them! Mental health is really important and is something people don't really talk about, so if you need someone to talk to, talk to them. I know I wouldn't be where I am today without my support system of my friends and family. They're always there when I need to vent or celebrate something that's happened.
I volunteer to be a listening ear for anyone that needs me, just hit me up! Everyone needs to have someone to talk to.
On the flip side of this, being this early in my career is also about sacrifice. I can't make every outing, go to every movie, because I'm trying to be Dr. Swiner before 28. But make sure you aren't sacrifing your sanity. IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO TO SOME THINGS. Just make sure to prioritize. Always have your end goal in mind and work hard towards it, but still take some personal days to binge watch Netflix or take a road trip.
Think about where you want to be in 5 years and then in 10 years and write it down. Then I want you to write down some of the things you have to do to get there.
On another piece of paper, write down 5-7 things you've always wanted to do/places you've wanted to go. Plan them out on paper with all the logistics.
Now finally, I want you to accomplish 2-3 things on your first list THEN reward yourself with something from the second list over the next few weeks/months and tell me about it! Hopefully this helps you start to balance work and play.
Always remember, life is about the journey and it's definitely not a race. Don't compare your journey to someone else's, they're supposed to be different. Focus on what you want to be and where you want to go and I promise you'll get there.