Well, it’s been over one week since I attempted to invest like an entrepreneur. Just to refresh everyone’s memories, last week I decided I was going to dedicate time and energy into improving my overall quality of life by getting more sleep, more exercise, reading more, meditating, and having a mentor. As with every experiment, some aspects were a success while others were not. Here are my results.
I’ve heard such amazing things about meditation. Friends, family, and acquaintances all swear by its calming powers, claiming it helps with stress and anxiety. My neurotic, high-strung, type-A personality is all about destressing and reduced anxiety, so I was eager to try this part of my endeavour. Recall that my first session of meditation was 10 minutes long and increased by 5 minutes each day after, so by today, I should be meditating for roughly one hour. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. One thing that I learned is that meditation does not work for me. Instead of calming me down, it makes me more stressed. I know I’m supposed to clear my mind and focus on nothing, but I can’t. Every time I meditated, I focused on the things that were bothering me. I tried doing it different times of day in different location, even listening to different types of music, but each time, I thought about my troubles. Perhaps I need to give it longer than one week, but as for now, I’ll continue to skip that part of yoga class.
Glorious, beautiful, fantastic sleep. My favorite part of the day is tied between dinnertime and bedtime. Few things bring me greater joy than laying comatose for hours while my mind hallucinates that zombie unicorns are trying to kill me or I’m being crushed by a one ton cupcake (both are actual dreams I’ve had). Despite my love of sleep, I had a terrible sleep schedule. I would stay up very late singing Britney Spears with my flatmates or watching Netflix, only to get up early the next day for work/school. I slept in on the weekends, but I’m pretty sure that just made things worse. For this experiment, I gave myself a strict bedtime and wake-up time, and by Jove, it worked! The first two nights were rough. I tossed and turned for a while and I was exhausted in the morning, but once that exhaustion caught up with me, I was able to easily fall asleep earlier and I woke-up much more rested. While my roommates complained about how tired they always were, I had plenty of energy throughout the day. This was perhaps the most important investing I did for this experiment. A word to the wise though, a weekend trip to Barcelona will ruin that nicely established sleep schedule.
I exercised a lot at home, so getting back into it here wasn’t super daunting to me. I like cardio exercises, but I absolutely loathe running and the idea of bouncing around my flat doing aerobics or something did not sound fun, so I chose yoga. I downloaded an app and got to it. I did it one to two times a day, depending on my schedule, during lunch and/or before dinner. Yoga worked well, and even for reasons I didn’t expect. My goal for yoga-ing was to stretch out after a day of sitting and to help me be zen. While it didn’t help accomplish my original goals, it also proved to an opportunity for my flatmates as well. I somehow managed to convince them to to join me and while they didn’t quite get the hang of it, it turned out to be a great bonding opportunity for us.
I’ve always enjoyed reading, but I don’t do much of it because I read so much for university. By the time I’m done with class and homework, the last thing I want to do it open another book. Well, since this semester I’m interning instead of going to class, I don’t read as much, leaving me more willing to read for fun. For whatever reason, reading always makes me sleepy, so I read for 30 minutes before I went to bed every night instead of being on my phone. I chose the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an interesting novel that combines Austen’s 1813 classic with the 21st century’s obsession with the undead. While pleasure reading wasn’t exactly what the original article called for, I still saw positive benefits. Reading, unlike meditation, did actually calm me down at the end of long days and it helped me fall asleep. I able to reignite my love for reading and I put a good dent into a book I’ve had on my Kindle for a while.
This part was definitely the easiest because I already have two people I consider to be my mentors: my boss, Suzi, and my on-site program coordinator. Both of these amazing women have been consistently helpful and supportive during my various successes and troubles. Suzi has taught me so many professional skills I know I’ll be able to use in the real world when I get my first “big girl” job. Furthermore, she constantly gives me great life advice, especially when it comes to dealing with homesickness, or “the blues” as we call them. My on-site coordinator has been with me since the beginning of my program, so she’s seen me at my best and absolute worst. Even though there have been many times where I was sure she was sick of me, she never stopped trying to get me through the rough times. From her I’ve learned invaluable life skills I will always carry with me. I really couldn’t have asked for better people to learn from. The world needs more women like these two.
So overall, I would say this journey was a resounding success. While not all parts of my experiment worked for me, don’t be afraid to try them for yourself! Don’t be afraid to try new things and modify them so they work for you. Perhaps the biggest thing I learned from this is the importance of taking care of yourself even when life is chaotic and we think we don’t have time for sleep or reading. Investing in your mental and physical health is just as important as that project that you need to finish or your upcoming meeting
While I will fully admit my life as an intern and student is nowhere near as mad as the life of an entrepreneur, I too often times underestimate the importance of the aforementioned things. However, I have a feeling that won’t happen much anymore.