When we began our Data School journey some 10 weeks ago, we were warned – in no uncertain terms – that the next four months would be intense. Project weeks, we learned from older, wizened Melbourne cohorts, could result in hair loss, late nights and a low-level caffeine addiction. We were told to rein in our focus, cut back on anything extra we might be tempted to undertake (which included, for my keener colleagues, a masters degree) and to take full advantage of our weekends.

Even coming into the office full-time after working morning radio hours on a hybrid basis for years was, in the beginning, a real struggle. After a few weeks, David believed we’d be “match fit” enough to survive the onslaught. Self-care, I have learned, is essential to surviving this with your sanity and hairline intact. So, without further ado, here are the self-care tips I’m implementing to come through this:

Take it easy

In the first few weeks, we were exhausted. One of my new colleagues admitted to going home and just falling asleep. The combination of learning an entirely new field, being in a new environment and having a whole new routine is A LOT. The key here is to take it easy where you can, don’t pack your first few weekends at the Data School with a bunch of social engagements because all you’ll want to do is sleep.

Prioritise sleep

Which brings us to my second point – sleep. We all know it’s important to get enough sleep, but it’s one of the first things to fall by the wayside when you’re busy and trying to dodge FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out). A few of my colleagues use an app called Pillow to track your sleep quality and the amount of REM sleep you get. I need at least 8 hours, you may need more or less, but it’s well worth prioritising your down time over the next 4 months.

Bedtime routine

Like any other perfectionist, I can find myself lying awake at night worrying. Something that helps combat this is a considered bedtime routine. Maybe for you that’s listening to brown noise (ask Chat GPT, it’s a thing), reading a book or making a killer hot chocolate. Whatever it is, make sure you’re able to do it without looking at your phone and don’t scroll in bed.

Meal prep

I pack myself little picnic lunches every day in a proper lunchbox (actually, it’s a kid’s lunchbox, I got it at a children’s store) to ensure I get enough protein, good fats and a decent helping of vegetables. Most of us bring lunch at least a few days a week (with the exception being Takeout Thursday). We also get fruit deliveries at the Data School.

Don’t neglect your health

After a few weeks, I found myself struggling to see the presentation screen in our classroom. Despite never using glasses, I was diagnosed with eye astigmatism. Being in a new environment, underlying health issues are bound to become more evident. Make a pre-emptive appointment with your GP in the first month of the Data School and get ahead of your health needs.

Nature walks

Go out and be in nature. We’re deep in screen work for at least 7 hours a day, so it pays to get out and experience the great outdoors when you can. My favourite walk is the Albert Park Lake loop (pictured in the feature image above – a flat track with a panoramic skyline), but here are a few others to try.

Try not to take work home

I broke this rule by the second week, but I’m trying to break the habit. Instead of taking your laptop home, try arriving an hour or so early to write a blog or complete an Alteryx challenge. It’ll help you to limit your time and stop you from going back to fix ‘just one more thing’. There’s nothing wrong with doing some supplementary activities at home, like workout Wednesdays and Alteryx Challenges, since you’re working on improving your own knowledge, but when it comes to client projects, I’m all for leaving the work at the office.



The Data School
Author: The Data School