The past week was the first week of my maternity leave. I'm super grateful to be provided with a couple weeks' of downtime before the baby comes. Secretly, I am worried about how I would handle it - I'm so used to a fast-paced work schedule, especially after the last two years working on a highly visible project.
Now one week into my break, I'm happy to announce it's going well so far. Reflecting on this past week a little, here's what I've done:
1. Develop and stick to a new routine.
Now that I'm on maternity leave, I no longer have to wake up at 6am to fit in a quick 30 mins workout before heading out to work (of course, this was before social distancing and WFH kicked in). But I find it essential to develop a routine/schedule everyday and try to abide by it. It gives the day a bit of structure.
Usually I would wake up before 9am (what a luxury - trying to squeeze in the last bit of sleep before the baby comes). The morning is usually spent on taking some online courses / doing some exercises, while the afternoon is for reading newspaper, going for a walk (outside if it's a sunny day, or on the treadmill if it's not), getting baby stuff ready, and preparing dinner.
2. Doing something mentally challenging everyday.
It's still important to keep the mind sharp even I'm not really "working". I've been taking the Stanford University's Machine Learning class on Coursera. I like it because it's wildly different from the brand management/marketing I do at work. Machine learning taps into lots of math and calculus. I've been good at Math, but haven't really studied any math since graduating from high school! That's probably why I find the class quite refreshing and interesting. Your mind needs variety and change. Plus, understanding basic machine learning algorithm will prepare myself for the new age of artificial intelligence.
In addition, I started the 6 Minute Networking course from Jordan Harbinger. One of my developmental areas is networking. I find this class very well designed and action-oriented. Most importantly, it feels genuine and authentic. It's simply about reaching out to folks I haven't spoken to in a while. I've reconnected with several people that I haven't been in touch with for a long time and it's good to catch up (especially during this unprecedented time!)
3. Keep up the exercise.
Since I'm in my 3rd trimester, I can only do some simple exercises, and not for an extended period of long time. I do three 30-mins exercise / movement every day. One in the morning - which is usually a bit more intense (though my heartrate doesn't really go over 140...), such as elliptical where I get my heart rate up slightly. Then two 30mins sessions in the afternoon and evening, usually 1-2 hours after the meal. For these sessions, I simply walk on the treadmill at a slight incline, while reading the newspaper or watch some TV shows. The walking sessions don't really count towards "exercise". They simply supplement the more sedentary lifestyle we're unfortunately reduced to while staying home all day. Of course, I feel incredibly lucky to have both the time and resources to do this (we have both elliptical and treadmill in our basement - bought them at a discount and got so much use out of it!).
But thanks to constantly moving around, I have good energy throughout the day and am able to almost close my Move ring on my apple watch everyday!
Will check back next week to see how things are rolling!