Heading Back to School

4 Jul

Ever since I “walked” in May and began counting down the days until completing this MBA (a week from today!  Sometime between 7 and 9 pm on July 11th, I will be a free woman) I have been “taking classes” on learning to relax.  Silly as it sounds, I’ve grown quite rusty at relaxation during the past three + years.

In the manner of all good things, I’ve begun with baby steps.

WEEKENDS OFF FROM STUDYING AND RUNNING:

  • Taking a weekend excursion to NYC to visit friends rather than studying for my midterm exam (plenty of cramming time on the bus and train there and back).

On the HighLine in NYC

  • Spending a weekend with church friends in Vermont.  Where I did not study or even run (both equally hard) but spent most of the weekend sitting in the sun chilling with friends, eating ice cream, playing croquet, or laying on the front of a sailboat giggling.  It was a rough weekend as I’m sure you can tell.  Relaxing is pretty hard work…

Vermont, all relaxing should be done in places like this

RELAXING DURING THE WORK WEEK:

  • Hanging out with a friend at the Friendly Toast after a lengthy lifting session. No agenda, no plan, no start or end time, just sitting on bar stools eating and talking about favorite books in 90+ degree heat. Laughing with the bartender. Moving past my annoying (according to my friend) habit of saying “Can I ask you a question?” rather than just asking my question.

Before meeting a friend for beer after class

  • Meeting up with other MBA-ers (and former teammates) for Whiskey Smash at the Eastern Standard after class ended.  Great people, delicious drinks, an outdoor table on a gorgeous evening. I don’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed – phone was turned off, school was done (for the evening), work seemed distant, and we laughed for two hours.
  • Watching as many Euro games as possible.  At Legal’s during the week and at Jerry Remy’s on the weekend.  I was so relaxed at one of the games (clearly one where I wasn’t vested in the outcome that I nearly fell asleep).  Good times.

TAKING RELAXATION BREAKS ON WEEKENDS IN BOSTON:

  • I am a superb multi-tasker. But, unfortunately, often I accomplish my to do list only to realize it is bedtime.  Or, I accomplish my list with bonus time and use that bonus time to get a head start on other things…like homework. My latest goal is to be efficient and effective with errands, groceries, cooking, cleaning, etc. and to use the bonus time I create to relax.
  • I have an easier time relaxing when not left alone.  So this past Sunday I had a friend over for a picnic – we made a veggie pizza with a cauliflower crust and took it and a bowl of berries outside to the park.  Phone was shut off, sunglasses were on, we chatted and lounged for a few hours (in the middle of the day!) before each returning to our evening plans (for me, that included lifting and then a study session with classmates.  Which didn’t seem so arduous after spending a few hours laying in the grass next to a bunny rabbit and some blooming flowers).

See? There was a bunny!

  • And last Saturday night, after a wonderful day of biking, I actually rented a movie, pulled my pillows and duvet off my bed, and hunkered down on my couch to chill out.  I have not done that since the MBA started.  Sure, I’ve watched a few movies (while paying bills or writing birthday cards or doing abs exercises) but to watch a movie while not sending work emails or checking my phone or writing out flashcards for an exam was a novelty. It felt foreign. It took some getting used to. But I managed to enjoy myself for nearly 2 hours without feeling guilty about the things I was not doing.

It’s a start. Once the classroom experience ends (in a week), I am planning on increasing my relaxation endeavors. In the meantime, I’ve got a few more fun relaxation experiments planned for this weekend.

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One Response to “Heading Back to School”

  1. acmcfarthing July 4, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Well done Liz! (Both for the hard work on your MBA, and your efforts towards guilt-free relaxing!)

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