The most important thing about work is – of course – the fact that you can take holiday. There, I said it. You can’t enjoy the highs without the lows. You get the analogy. It’s not that I don’t like my job. I love what I do. It’s just that I also really love holiday. I also can’t say no to work stuff I find interesting, and that I’m very easily overwhelmed (highly sensitive person here). I need holidays, and to be honest, two weeks are not gonna do much to restore my overwhelmed brain. Let me take my four weeks of mental health restoration, so I can come back after, completely reinvigorated, ready to slowly let it all deteriorate again, so that I can take another deserved break at the end.

No matter how much I love being away, or how many times I take extended periods of leave. After being away I always struggle at getting back into what I would call ‘the zone’ – that magical space where everything is great and falls right into place. That place where you don’t really have to think about anything. Where it all just flows.

Maybe it’s the perfectionist voice living in my head telling me this, but I usually feel like I am in zombie mode for at least three weeks upon return. And even then, I am rarely in the zone the entire week. (My weeks have pretty predictable ups and downs regulated by anxiety.)

I’m not sure what’s so different about this time, but I somehow feel like this has been my most productive week ever.

Everything was just great this week.

While I was gone, my team did great. Their progress was great. The meetings I had with everyone this week were great. The meeting content, plans for the summer season, all great. Their writing was great. My editing flow felt great (might still be miserable, but at least miserable in a great way). I hired a new student assistant on a project that so far appears great. Teaching planning for next semester looks great. My two field experiments look great(ish – still early season, but great enough for an honorable mention). Heck, even the weather was great.

Yeah. I don’t know what’s wrong with me either. I might be broken.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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