It seems to be inevitable that most of the academics I know experience what I’ve termed “Fall Flu” somewhere between late September and October. Is it a coincidence? Maybe it is, or maybe it is a symptom of burnout, contact with more people after a summer of relative seclusion, or just a malaise. Regardless, here are some things I have found to prevent and treat “Fall Flu.”
- When building your syllabus, do a cross course comparison to spread out marking, and avoid marking during conferences or other responsibilities that you can’t adjust for to make life easier for yourself.
- Plan a day or two in the semester where your teaching is light and have that across your courses to allow you to catch up. A good example would be a day for class presentations, group work, library training, or a film.
- Don’t take on any due dates for the fall if it is easily avoided. Remember that a lot of the time when you are presented with a due date, that it is negotiable. The real annoyance is a missed due date with no communication.
- Wash your hands. Without being germaphobic, its a good idea to wash your hands before eating, and after work.
- Plan little things to look forward to throughout the fall. I like to put upcoming movies in my calendar, plan a pajama day (or a few!)
- Get enough sleep. This is especially hard if you have anxiety as a new school year can make that a challenge. Read up on “sleep hygiene” for some great ideas on how to fall asleep more easily, or download an app like RelaxMelodies which lets you choose and mix white noise. They even have rain on the roof!
Self care is something that can take practice but it is worth it!