In tarot, the Hanged Man represents being stuck between two points. This is taken as being at a physical or mental crossroads and with this being the season of graduations and hopefulness, I find that many people are at this state.
I’ve been living in this state for a while. Recently, I successfully passed my preliminary examination, which will allow me to proceed with my PhD and reach my dissertation. In graduate school, you are trained and primed to teach the preliminary exam. This is all that you work on, your course work is what preps you for this. Your outside reading preps you for this. Your advisor preps you for this.
And only this.
As I transition to this new state of my academic career, I wonder what to do now because for the first time? I don’t have a plan. For reasons I won’t get into right now, I’ve been wanting to leave the PhD program. I’ve been wanting to be a PhDropout for a while, but I stayed with it. Whether that was a good decision or not has yet to be seen, but for the time being I want to put a bandage over this wounded feeling.
So these are the self-care techniques I’ve been using.
- Give yourself a break. You’ve worked hard for this. You’ve worked hard to reach this milestone, whether it be a graduation, a promotion, a finished marathon, or even finishing a semester. Give yourself a little time to yourself and do what you want. Have a video game that you wanted to play? Pop it in. Netflix marathon? Run it until it asks if you’re still alive. Love wine? Pop the cork! Love sex? Well…you get the picture.
- Head outside. Chances are you’ve been indoors for quite some time trying to get shit on track. Go back outside and explore where you live. If you moved to your current city for grad school/work, give it a shot. See where the locals go. See where the locals don’t go. I recently started hitting up bars and restaurants in the city that were always recommended to me, but were a bit of a drive away. Going for a long walk helped. Walking down to the corner store and talking to the shopkeep helped. It helped to know that I wasn’t alone anymore.
- Re-evaluate and Re-invest in relationships. Do you have friends you haven’t seen in a while? Family? Give them a call. I talked to my mom and sister for about half an hour every other day since passing my preliminary exam. I missed out on a lot. It made me see that they do support me (by not guilting me) but also made me see that I have my own life now. This also gave me the time to look at the friends and people around me. I started to defriend people off of social media and stopped spending time with people who were toxic, but I didn’t have the strength, time nor capability to deal with them before. It’s as simple as clicking a button in some cases.
- Get back to it. The celebration is over. Time to get back to what you want to do.
This is just a short entry on what I’ve done. I’m trying not to look too far into the future and the job market (it will depress and freak me out), but I am trying to get back to a normal resemblance of life. What about you? What self-care and recharge methods do you use?