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“Laughter is an instant vacation” – Milton Berle
No matter how close you are to the end of a project, sometimes it seems like a mini-vacation right now would be great, doesn’t it? Do you ever feel that you are too swamped with work and overwhelmed to take a moment to find the joy in life?
How To Add Laughter To Your Life
It seems a little strange, I know, but I do believe that just laughing can make you feel so much better. Apparently, there is even a type of yoga called laughter yoga, where you can laugh away the stress. Now, I don’t know anyone who has tried it, but if you do – please share!
Going for coffee with a friend, or spending a Sunday with friends rather than buried in books (which I did this week) makes a great change. We usually end up laughing about something. Even smiling an discussing something other than work can make all the difference. Just yesterday, on a road trip with some friends for a few hours, I caught myself laughing way more than I had in weeks.
Taking Breaks To Reach Your Goals
Well, what if I’m on a super fast track to reach my goals, and I don’t have time for a break? One of the main lessons I’ve learned from doing my PhD and teaching simultaneously is that taking breaks is so important.
You know that guilty feeling you get when you take a break, but you know you should be doing some work?
Here’s how I handle that:
- Stop for a moment, and breathe
- Take a look at your Google Calendar, notebook, or whatever organizational tool you use and find a realistic way to schedule in a break
- Remember that a day off is not going to kill your schedule. Sometimes, you have trade salary or extra hours teaching for mental health and productivity on another project. It’s tricky to convince yourself, I know – but I’ve learned it’s worth it!
- When you’re on your break hour, day, or even weekend – don’t let yourself think about work.
5 Ways To Take A Mini Break Without Feeling Guilty
1. Read A Book
As much as I know that gorging on Netflix can be tempting, reading a book always seems to give me a deeper, more disconnected break. Watching another screen can sometimes be as draining as continuing to work. For some reason, even if I read on my awesome Kindle, I feel more refreshed than watching an hour of tv.
2. Go For Coffee, and Laugh
Whether you go for coffee in person, or have a virtual “Skype” coffee, these little 45 minute breaks are crucial for me. Since I’ve lived in a few countries, a lot of my “coffee dates” are over Skype. Usually I Skype my friends every couple months and there’s always something that can make me smile or laugh. Even just vocalizing your problems and listening to theirs (though more serious than laughter) can be refreshing.
3. Do An Activity You Did As A Child
For example, go to a Science Museum and check out all those hands-on exhibits that were probably originally made for kids. It seems silly, but it’s worth the laugh! Of course, you can always go back to a childhood passion, and do that for an hour. Playing the piano reminds me of so many memories, so it’s the perfect, short escape.
4 Google Silly Memes
Now I know this seems like a bit of an immature suggestion, but it works. I’m part of Whatsapp group with a few local friends (called the Pianist’s team, incidentally). Basically, every time we need to rant, complain, ask a question, or need encouragement, there is an instant support network. Sometimes, members of the group post silly memes – little linguistics jokes or cartoons with puns – and wow, does that change my day. Laughing for a moment can help!
5. Plan A Daytrip With Friends
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