With my more recent pivot towards studying habitual patterns in the everyday, I’m finding myself being a lot more critical of myself and my own habits, but not in a healthy way.
I’ve been catching myself biting my nails and grinding my teeth a lot more than usual. I think it might be an attempt at regulating the stress that I’m putting myself under. The stress of finding time to disconnect from my research and emotion that I've invested into the core of what I'm studying. I've been very critical lately and catching myself getting upset about things that normally I would be able to process, like when I have to turn down a homeless person's beg for change.
Spiralling into these critical thinking patterns has resulted in me feeling that every movement throughout my daily life is significant to the subsequent and that every movement needs to be calculated. I’ve been pulling out my notes app or laptop during a conversation with a peer or taking pictures while I promised myself that I was going to relax for a bit and unwind. Essentially doing the opposite of what I'm aiming to do with my research–be more present and mindful throughout the rhythms of the everyday.
I’ve tried planning things to get me outside of school and research but I still somehow manage to find a way of bringing up an extension of the structures in our world that are upsetting me, furthering this extremely critical and sometimes pessimistic outlook on strangers passing by and the world at large.
I think in a particular way this has benefited my research, I've been dipping my toe in a lot of different things and having a lot of really important conversations, documenting it in a variety of different mediums. However, at the same time, I'm finding myself only taking breaks for eating and I can feel myself nearing a possible burn-out.
To better illustrate my mindset at the moment, in my own mind I've been comparing it to the process a method actor might go through: "A technique of acting in which an actor aspires to complete emotional identification with a part, based on the system evolved by Stanislavsky and brought into prominence in the US in the 1930s." Stanislavsky believed that believable, natural performances would come from the actor connecting their own personal lived experiences onto the decisions of the actor they are portraying (source).
You can see how this mindset might get overwhelming. When all your thinking about is the role your portraying–or in my case 'the everyday', then I begin to lose a part of myself to the research. Potentially this is just me being overly sensitive, in tune with my feelings.
I've always been an obsessive person as I've talked about in previous blog posts. Obsessive in the way that whatever my central interests are at the moment I have difficulty working on or thinking about anything else. In this case, the everyday is very much all a person has when I start to analyze every step and move I'm making it starts to get a bit much.
That brings my desire of finding a new structure, a way of pivoting my research again, but into a healthier and balanced approach. I would hate to get into space where I start doubting my research topic because of the negativity I've been grappling with so I’m going to spend the next bit of time getting some advice on separating myself from my research, if you have any advice I’d love for you to send me a message below.