Work-Life Balance Queen! This Researcher Does Calf Raises While Her Samples Centrifuge

Aspinwall, C., Narayanan, S. et al

After realizing she spends most of her day waiting for samples to centrifuge, postdoctoral researcher Lourdes Alvarez had a breakthrough about balancing her lab duties with any sort of fitness routine. “What if I could make working in the lab work for me?” considered Alvarez, forgetting she had been down this road before. 

Confronting a pie-chart of her day, Alvarez buckled down on maximizing “me-time” within the constraints of her grueling lab schedule. With 24 hours in a day and 5 hours of sleep per night, factoring in at least 1-2 hours of staring blankly at a wall wishing she could just feel something at all, the only way to “have it all” was to make the lab feel like home. 

Calculations in hand, Lourdes embarked on her plan to shake up her life like her samples on the Vortex mixer. Already wearing threadbare leggings and orthopedic shoes into the lab every day, she reasoned that she could easily bring in some yoga techniques from that one class she took in undergrad. Now, as the sun rises every morning, Lourdes performs sun-salutations by the fume hood while her samples cure. “This is going to be the year of me!” avows Lourdes who is learning to meditate while maintaining sterile technique. 

“I can even get a couple of crunches in while Windows force installs updates” says Alvarez, seen slumped over the desk in ‘savasana’ as the 15-year-old lab computer struggled to restart. A foot over, her newest succulent “to brighten up the place” is already dropping leaves.

Lourdes insists these lifestyle changes are in no way related to the mounting pile of edits to her most recent manuscript.  “I’m just practicing mindfulness, you know?” she said, actively ignoring her PI’s criticism in favor of instead continuing an inherently flawed experiment — while working her glutes, of course.

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About Author

Christina Aspinwall

Christina Aspinwall is a chemical engineering master’s student, failed tiny foods chef, and all-around person.

Sharada Narayanan

Sharada Narayanan is a human (do not google this) with a bachelor’s degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering. She currently works in biotech but is excitedly awaiting her inevitable breakthrough in comedy because the other day her boss said she was “funny.”

About Christina Aspinwall 4 Articles
Christina Aspinwall is a chemical engineering master’s student, failed tiny foods chef, and all-around person.