'The importance of an actual break'
I've said on several occasions that I have not read a non history book since 2011. In case I am misunderstood, I do NOT think that this is a good thing, and I don't say it to sound historically tough. Instead, I say it to remind people that, if you're not careful, this podcasting malarchy can be pretty all consuming. I should add though, that while I am unable to apportion my reading hours to anything other than research, I am able to decompress in a few places which I would go crazy without. That said, I do have to force myself on occasion to relax and remove myself from the pod chair, even though I know it's healthy.
Do you have trouble switching off too? Perhaps I am not alone, but in any case, here's three practical things I do on a regular basis to ensure that I don't go quite insane. DISCLAIMER: unfortunately I have, several times, failed to detach myself from the podding process, and because of that I crashed quite hard. If you are reading this right now and thinking "I'll be grand, I can deal with the stress", be warned, the experience is not a pleasant one, and it can creep up on you when you least expect it. With that out of the way, let's begin.
1: Exercise is essential...for me at least!
If I go too long without some form of exercise, I quite literally begin to break down. Perhaps my brain is now so used to getting those energies out that I am somewhat addicted to the process of going to the gym/ for a run in the morning and then working for the rest of the day. I find that not only am I more productive, but I am also more satisfied. A tip from me: TRY not to listen to anything history related, especially if you're doing a lot of intense history work. Try to achieve a complete separation from all things history, unless you feel up to learning about something a bit different - maybe check out a random history podcast you have yet to encounter?
2: Find SOMETHING, ANYTHING that lets you properly escape.
For me, reading used to be good for relaxing, until reading became all history podcasting related. Now, instead of reading, I play some kind of playstation/PC game or watch Netflix. Now, granted, these games are normally of the historical variety, and the Netflix shows are often of the historical or even documentary variety, but still, it is a break from thinking which is essential. Don't cheat on this like I did, and look up a Versailles documentary on YouTube, think part of the way through 'this is pretty good' and then start taking notes on your so-called break. THAT is not relaxing. Do find something brainless, something which allows you to properly lose yourself, and forget schedules, deadlines, thought processes etc. Come back afterwards then feeling genuinely refreshed!
3: Be sociable - TRUST ME I KNOW IT'S HARD!
I am a devil for staying away from people even when I know it's been a while. Other people are important though, especially because they can take you out of yourself by taking about something OTHER THAN history podcasting. You don't want to end up a one dimensional loner do you? Good, then get out there and meet some friends. Talk about your podcast IF THEY ASK, but if they don't, then stay quiet about and talk about other things. Come now, there must be SOMETHING else that interests you?
It is part of being a functioning adult - you simply must leave your desk from time to time. Maybe I'm preaching to the choir here, or maybe I'm just saying this for my own benefit, but I do find that I work better the next day when I've socialised a bit. It doesn't mean I have to be hungover the next day with a pounding headache, but it does mean that I did more than tap away at something alone and talk to myself. Another top tip? Get a dog, and keep that good boy in your office. That way at least those words you say to yourself will go to the dog and he'll love you a bit more because of it. This is my life aim...
Ok, so if you follow these simple tips, you should be a saner history podcaster as well as a more well rounded human being. Signing up to our newsletter will definitely help (maybe). Also, maybe switching off ins't a problem for you at all, and maybe this post makes me sound a bit crazy, but for those of you out there that do struggle with this, remember it is important to rest as much as it important to work. Stay safe history friends and patrons, thankssss for reading, and I'll be seeing you all, soon.