Mental well-being is a real issue of concern in architecture. A recent survey by The Architects’ Journal revealed that more than 52% of architecture students expressed concern regarding their mental health. When considering the long hours, the competitive nature of the race, as well as the length of the race, this is perhaps not surprising. The “pass by” attitude of most architecture schools exacerbates the problem, as studies show that a lack of sleep reduces the resilience of the mind to problems such as anxiety and depression.
However, this aspect of the architectural education system is not showing any signs of change. What can architecture students (and their professional counterparts) do to minimize the impact architecture has on their psychological well-being? I would say that the answer, at least in part, can be found in the practice of meditation.
Why don’t we architects have time for anything?
We want to do everything and nothing at the same time, we are full of pending issues and we mortify our existence more in wanting to know how we are going to solve them than in actually doing them. We are overwhelmed by excessive workload, and if you study and work your free time does not exist. When you sleep more than necessary, you have the strange feeling of guilt that runs through you all day, because you should not have slept, you should have finished, you enter resignation, wasting a little more time.
A demanding profession
Today the architect wants to do everything, permit drawings, budget, coordinate the work, etc., and many times there is no other choice. If you could delegate your work, and specialize in something, it would be ideal, but if you are one of those who have to be a “todologist” at least at this stage of your life, here are some tips that could help you.
Tips to reduce stress
Make weekly and daily plans, divide your day into hours, although you know that there will always be setbacks and unexpected things that break the timing of your day, you can be more clearly about the goals of the day.
You should know at what times of the day you are most adept at doing certain things. For example, if you are one of those who work best at night, who take inspiration just when everything around you calms down and the sun sets, then leave routine tasks that do not require excessive use of your mind for the morning, because it will cost you more work to do them.
Give priorities, describe them, set a start date, know what steps you must follow to complete them, and estimate the time. The estimation of time, we know in our case is always relative, it is not completely up to us, however we must always consider a margin of error, due to the unforeseen events. And when you don’t know how long it would take you to do this or that thing, asking is never too much. Yes, we feel that we know everything, well no, there will always be someone to advise us and to be able to live a more relaxed life, or at least, less full of stress.
“When stress comes, you know that creativity cuts out, turning into a vicious cycle between stress – lack of creativity – not being able to finish on time.”