Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Eating Soup at 12:30

When I started service, I didn’t take any breaks. I worked through lunch and ate snacks while hunched over my laptop. The only time I would rest my mind would be when I would refill my water bottle and/or do a lap around the office tables. I wanted to learn as much as I could and do everything as fast as possible. I strove to be the best at a job I didn’t know much about to begin with, trying to outdo myself every day.

So yeah, that didn’t last.

I’m very familiar with burnout, and I know how easy it is for me to fall into bad habits that lead me to that point. It was clear to me towards the end of October that I would not be able to continue at the pace I was racing at, and I found myself becoming more frustrated at myself and my productivity. But then I remembered something super cheesy but also super real.

My value is not based on my productivity.

It sounds super hippie, but there is so much truth to it. For months I didn’t allow myself to take breaks because it would take too much time out my day. And I really thought if I wasn’t surpassing my own unrealistic expectations every week, then my supervisor would scold me and tell me I wasn’t doing my job.

(Which is super ridiculous, my supervisor is one of the most patient human I’ve ever met.)

Obviously, this stress was self-induced and needed to be addressed.

Thus was born a recurring office joke, Melina Eats Soup. I ended up marking in the shared calendar that every workday, from 12:30 to 1, Melina Eats Soup. Because you know, I love soup. I also schedule Melina Drinks Tea from 2:45 to 3.

Now, do I always eat soup and drink tea at those times every day? Of course, I’m absolutely neurotic.

Joking, joking. I just needed something on my calendar that looked like a task so I wouldn’t feel so guilty taking these well-deserved breaks. It also makes me look super important because I’m unavailable at those times every day, doing business things probably.

I’m not sure I’m making much sense in this blog post but essentially I just wanted to say it’s cool to rest your brain and don’t feel guilty about it because humans deserve to eat soup when they want. I just so happen want to eat soup everyday at 12:30.

Today is minestrone. It’s okay.

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This entry was posted on November 18, 2020 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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