Take a break, somehow, somewhere, sometime. Ready for a mini-challenge?

As many teachers heave a sigh of relief at the approaching half term break, my question to you is this: when did you last take a break, or to phrase it differently, give yourself a break?

Before you begin muttering darkly about how much time teachers have off (and having been one myself, I’ll argue long and hard with you on that subject!) let’s think about how you might interpret the term “take a break” and put it into practice.

Here’s a week’s worth of mini-challenges for you, whether or not you’re part of the half-term brigade!

Take a break from something that you find draining or overwhelming.
Whether it’s social media, emails, writing something you just can’t get your head around, a demanding situation or simply the tv or computer screen in front of you, it’s good to “break state” (coaching term!) from time to time, to give your poor brain a rest, to refresh and to return later with (sometimes) a different outlook and perspective.

Take a break from routine.
It’s very good for you to change routines every so often; this one doesn’t have to be something big.  Try brushing your teeth with your other hand, standing in a different place in your gym class (I know you always choose the same space!) varying your route to work, or your dog walk (more exciting for the dog, too), having something completely different for breakfast, changing a domestic routine; you get the picture.  Do it more than just once if you can and see how your mind has to work just a teeny bit differently.

Take a break from sitting down.
Try standing at your desk for a while, as best you can.  Stand up during the evening, if you know you tend to be a bit of a couch potato. Or at least make sure you set yourself a timer (you might not do it unless you’re reminded) to prompt you to stand, walk about a bit, go outside for a breath of air, or stand by an open window.  Again, this is good break state practice.

Take a break from your listening/viewing/reading habits.
Try a different radio station, podcast, tv programme; one that you’ve never tried before or a section of the news that you don’t normally bother to read.  Give it a chance.  Trying new things is exciting, interesting and you’ll learn something.

Take a break from a habit of yours that gets on your own nerves!
We all have them: little things we do that we find ourselves tutting ourselves for doing!  Next time you’re aware – and this is the trick; you have to be paying attention – of yourself doing whatever it is, acknowledge, accept, and stop!  It might be a behaviour, a word used too often or a slightly compulsive habit; you know yourself well enough.

Take a break from saying “yes” when you mean “no”.
It’s hard, for sure, but consider your own energy levels, and where you want to direct them.  Spending time doing something because you feel you “should” or “ought to” (how I dislike those words!) is time better spent doing something else.

Take a break from everything and take a day (or two) or even a few hours off.
Go and do something fun, just for you.  It doesn’t have to cost much, or anything at all, if you’re creative enough with your planning.  Time off, well spent, is something we all need.  Don’t think about it, do it!

That’s it!  Your seven-day challenge.  Reflect, reconsider, react.  Try it and let me know how you get on.  And if you need a helping hand or word, get in touch!

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About Marianna Beckwith