Through the Slump?

I think I might be through my August slump. I love what I do and I find the questions fascinating. But sometimes, I see the entirety of the work ahead of me and feel a little overwhelmed. I get stressed out, I get headaches and get tired, and I start to shut down a bit. It is harder with my husband halfway across the country. Luckily this never lasts for long for me- a couple of weeks.

I've been overly migraine-ish anyway, but apparently the monsoon season does this to many of my fellow sufferers. As wonderful as the weather can be in Tucson, when you add wildly shifting barometric pressure to very bright, intense sunlight, you get a recipe for migraine disaster.

slump + monsoon migraine = yucky month and low productivity... which of course adds to the stress which adds to the ... anyway, you get the point.

Luckily, I have my tricks to break free. First, I realize that I've actually been getting things done so I need to quit beating myself up. Along with that, I get enough sleep, drink plenty of coffee in the morning, and remember all the lessons I learned in the mindfulness meditation classes my wise doctors made me take through the medical school. (Laugh all you want about the mindfulness meditation: that stuff works. When three separate doctors insist you learn something to be more healthy, its a good idea to pay attention)

Then I take a step back. Where am I in my research? How close am I to cool results (or any results)? What are the nifty next steps I'm going to enjoy taking? How about my long list of awesome experiments I really want to get to? How does all of this move my research program forward and help define me as a scientist?

That and thinking about the job market and where I want to be is usually enough to kick me in the pants and get me excited again. Heck, I have cool papers just on the verge of submitting to journals. I've got a nifty experiment running that should be done by Thanksgiving or Christmas. That's much faster than the 2.5 or 3 year running time of each of my last 3 experiments. Gotta stay positive!

Ahhh, the process of working on long term goals.


Tripletmom said...

Hope you are even more positive now, 5 days later than you posted this! Sounds like you are doing a great job at everything to me!

How is the pup?

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