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  • Mom, PhD

Mid-Semester Crisis

I am tired. It's been weeks of reading books, writing articles, taking care of the baby, and cooking dinner for the family and I am utterly exhausted. Let's not forget to mention the environmental crises happening in the Bay Area: power is being shut off every other week and the air is so toxic that we need to wear masks that have quickly diminished in supply. I've been overtaken by my relentless schedule, the endless to-do list that it generates, and natural forces that are beyond my control. Admittedly, I haven't been taking very good care of myself. I mean, where can I possibly find the time amongst juggling school, work, and family?

It's reached a critical point and I've made it my goal this week to slow down, dedicate time to self-care, and just chill a little. My exhaustion has manifested as chronic tiredness, headaches, and depression. And yesterday, I knew just the cure. After finishing some reading for my California Architecture class, I went downstairs to my living room. I heated a comforting bowl of chicken soup, turned the TV volume up high (the baby was at school), and watched Queer Eye: We're in Japan. It was fabulous, as usual (I'm a longtime fan), and the ritual made me feel better instantaneously.

I was talking to my friend Alberto who sits next to me in the PhD room at school about how I've been feeling and he diagnosed it immediately: I have a case of the Mid-Semester Crisis when the adrenaline of the beginning of the semester wanes and the fatigue of the endless work cycle hits you. The anxiety of the impending first finals season also begins to take shape. It comforted me to know that this is a common condition and it also made me realize that I need to prioritize my self-care right now.

For women who shoulder many disparate and critical responsibilities, your greatest asset is yourself: your brainpower, your work ethic, your body. In order to maintain your enterprise, you need to take care of yourself. I haven't found the time to exercise regularly or meal prep and I certainly haven't had time to do some pampering. This weekend, I'm going to break the cycle and change that.

Thankfully, I have a supportive husband who will watch the baby on Sunday while I go to a Korean spa in San Francisco. I'm booked for a "24K Gold Extract Treatment," which means that after all my dead skin is scrubbed off and my muscles massaged, I'll be wrapped up in gold leaf and left to absorb the heavenly substance. I'm going to arrive an hour or so early to steam and soothe and just relax minus my phone, books, and any other work-related distractions. I am envisioning it to be a bodily and spiritual purification process resulting in an apotheosis that allows me to finish the semester with gusto. I can't wait.


Mom with Stroller
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