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“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you” – Anne Lamott (according to Goodreads).
This weekend, I did something I never do.
Unless I’m super sick, or I have a pre-planned holiday, of course.
I took the whole weekend off. Yes, that’s right. I didn’t work on my PhD, I happened to not have any online English students this weekend, I didn’t write a blog post, and I didn’t execute my social media strategy. In fact, my only “work” related task was creating a few graphics and telling everyone about Paulino Brenner’s awesome Language Learning Summit I’m speaking at this week. It’s a great summit of 50+ teachers with language learning and teaching tips videos you can watch for the whole two weeks (Use the code “celebratelanguages” to get your ticket for only $2!)
Actually, I didn’t take the weekend off on purpose. My calendar was full on Friday afternoon. Bit by bit, though, I decided to shove all those events, tasks and projects to this coming week. I had two coffee dates with friends I hadn’t had a chance to have a good chat with in ages and spent a few hours with each of them, pondering life.
I had a session with my trainer on Friday, and I did yoga on Sunday, but I let Saturday be work-out free. Wow, does Monday morning feel great after taking a break!
Admittedly, our modern version of “taking a break” often has nothing to do with unplugging! In fact, we plug right back into another device (a Whatsapp conversation, Netflix, computer games, etc.) In fact, one of my Blogger Heroes (that’s what I call bloggers I look up to and aspire to be like one day), Ramit Sethi, sent an email about that recently.
His email was a refreshing reminder that what we consider taking a “break” nowadays is often not even close! We give our tired eyes a break from writing papers by forcing them into more screentime. We talk to our best friends via a screen, and take breaks indoors.
Try to take a break without being plugging in. It’s harder than you think.
What About Sleep?
Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know that I’m doing my
best to get my sleep in – 7 hours a night is my goal. My lovely Garmin Vivosport watch is helping. I seriously love this sports band, friends. It is light, beautiful, waterproof (it swims!) and gives you so much data about your fitness activities. Two of my good friends have purchased them on my recommendation already and are as happy as I am. Way to go, Garmin, for developing such an awesome product).
Don’t forget to get your sleep in, so your body is supercharged for the next day. This is advice I find so hard to follow, but I’m trying! Tracking it with my watch definitely helps, though. If you have any sleep strategies, please share them with me at the end of this post!
4 Ways To Take A Break
Well, there are tons of ways to take a break, to “unplug” if you will – but I still find it difficult. I’m doing my best to take more breaks, and on the advice of a great friend, leave more time in between activities.
You know that nagging feeling that you still have more to do, that you’re wasting time or need to fill up your Google Calendar to the brim? I definitely get that a lot! What I’m learning is that, despite those feelings, we have to stop, slow down for a moment, breathe, and consciously take a break. No, I don’t mean passing out on the sofa with your laptop, lesson planning, and work in front of you (guilty!), but consciously taking a break and unplugging.
Here are 4 of my favourite ways to take a break:
- Grab a coffee with a great friend, and ponder life
- Spent quality time with that beautiful dog of yours (or cat, or child, or partner, or whoever you care most deeply about)
- Light exercise. (I say light because my usual training plan is about 6 hours a week of personal weight training and plyometrics sessions, swimming lessons and practice, running and sometimes Bodypump). So, a yoga class or a walk is a good break
- Read a book. Netflix is tricking us into thinking we are really taking a break, rather than tiring our eyes more. Switch to a book once in awhile; I definitely miss this!
Now, I can’t take credit for the image to the right at all. It’s all over Pinterest, but the original authors are Karen Horneffer-Ginter and Paula Hansen. I absolutely love this visual of 50 great ways to take a break. So, if you need more ideas, check it out!
What do you do to unplug and take a break? Are you good at unplugging? Share your strategies with the whole Teaching Cove community in the comments below. I love hearing from all of you!
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. The photo for today’s post (and poster!) is simply one I took this morning of my beautiful Labrador German Shepherd cross, Kiara, who definitely knows how to take a break 🙂
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