Taking a Break, and Why It’s Important

Via pixabay
Via pixabay

So…it’s Sunday Fun Day, right?

Oh hahah! Just kidding! There’s no such thing for a student. Sunday is usually Study Day. As is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…you get the point.

However, you can’t just study constantly, because that would probably be the best recipe for insanity. Some breaks are required, so that you brain can take a breather, and so, when you’ll come back to your notes, you’ll be fresh and ready to take more information in.

It’s what I do, anyway, and when I manage to do it right, it’s quite effective. However, this doesn’t happen all the time. Why? Well, because whenever I take a break, the time seems to miraculously flow by, and when I look at the clock to see how much longer I can enjoy my break, I nearly always seem to find out that my break is already over…and then some.

I thought about just skipping the whole break thing, but then I realized that I shouldn’t, because I treasure my sanity. Plus, breaks have amazing benefits, in addition to the ones i just mentioned. For example,

1)Helps you remain focused when you get back to work.

2)Keeps you more energetic throughout the day.

3)Refreshes your memory.

4)Takes the stress levels down.

5)Improves creativity.

With all these reasons to take a break, who would refuse to do it? Not me, that’s for sure! However, it is important to keep in mind that not all breaks are created equal. That is, there are breaks that are effective, and others that are…not so effective.

For instance, if you take a break from your work, only to start…say, studying. That’s not a real break, and you shouldn’t expect much results from that.

Instead, what you could do is:

1) Eat. Just eat; don’t do anything else.

2)Listen to music, preferably relaxing music,

3)Meditate.

4) Take a short (about 15-20 mins) nap.

5)Go for a walk in nature.

6)Go for a run.

Do you have a favorite way of spending your breaks? Mine is listening to music 🙂

/Larisa

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Both the Marble and the Sculptor

A few weeks ago, I ran into this beautiful quote by Alexis Carrel, which captures the difficulty of changing oneself both perfectly and poetically. Ever since then, this quote has stayed with me, which is why I though I’d make a post about it.

Change is difficult, we all know that. As an explanation for this difficulty, people often offer an explanation that goes along the lines of ” because we’re creatures of habit”. Indeed, we are, but this doesn’t come anywhere near explaining the first point. Yes, it’s clear that we like things that are habitual, but what is the reason we’re such loving fans of it?

In an attempt to answer that question, we might be told that it’s because habits are things that work for us. We’ve tried it once (or a few times), we figured out that they function well, and so we stuck with them. Well, yes, this is true in some cases, but not in all. Many times, people stick with the same things despite the fact that they are harmful. In other cases, the habit might not be harmful necessarily, but it might simply not be the best out of all the possible options. For example, one might take the same road home, despite the fact that there are other ones that are faster (this is one thing I know I’m guilty of 🙂 ).

The best answer comes from the quote I mentioned in the beginning. Change in it of itself is difficult. Think about redecorating your apartment. It’s a lot of work, which can tire someone quite readily. But when you’re trying to change yourself, you’re not only the one executing the change, but also the object that’s being changed. In other words, you are making the change, while you are being changed yourself. it’s double the work, isn’t it?

Below I’ve linked a video in which it is argued that change is exhausting, which makes sense, in light of the above conclusion. In essence, trying to change something requires a lot of effort, which then leaves you drained, and incapable of performing other tasks as well as you could. As such, it makes sense why we’d prefer to stick to something that requires less effort on our part, leaving us capable of working on other undertakings.

The quote speaks of suffering, which makes sense. Not inescapably physical suffering, though this might occur as well, because mental torment might also be experienced. One might argue that the mental torment is more powerful than the physical one, because it can leave scars that hardly, if ever, heal.

So, what should we do? Should we completely silence the sculptor within us, so as not to allow the marble we’re made out of to feel pain? Or should we let the sculptor do its job, and endure the suffering of the marble?

The answer is that it depends. If you’ve been stuck for a while with habits that are harmful to you, then let your inner sculptor do its job. Remember that it’s only hard in the beginning, because after a while, the new routine will become a habit, and it will be easier for you to do it.

If you’ve got something that works great, then there’s no need to tire yourself out trying to change it. Rather, look for whatever else there is in you that doesn’t work that well, and put your energy into that.

/Larisa

Related: 

Holding On, by Elizabeth Stokkebye

Change, by Yarinmansour

Learning to change it, by Zoeprose

Get in touch with me!  🙂

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The Good Side of Being Sick

Via Flickr

This upcoming Monday is Canada’s Thanksgiving day, which means that we (and by “we”, I mean students, and really, anyone else), get a longer weekend. Now, I’m all for having a long weekend, especially if it means that I get to get my stuff together.

In my last post, I talked about how school had gotten a little out of hand, which is why now I was very happy to have that extra day off to put everything in order, and start the new week organized.

But this is not all that this Thanksgiving weekend is all about, now is it? This holiday is a great time to sit back and think of all the things you have to be thankful for. This type of exercise is a great means by which you can bring your spirit up if you’re feeling a bit down, and lets face it: with the weather starting to act up, and the days becoming shorter and shorter, most of us can’t help but feel off.

So, I had one more reason to be excited about this upcoming weekend; I mean, not only do I get to organize what feels like my entire life, but I also get special time reserved for being thankful.

And then…then I go ahead and get sick.

This whole thing started with a massive sore throat that I wasn’t able to tame with tons of tea, so I had to go and get Strepsils, which really did the trick. I was pretty content about the state of affairs, until I woke up the next day, and it was worse. Not the sore throat, because that was halfway gone, but the “state of affairs”. I was coughing a lot, my nose was runny, and my head hurt. “It’s alright“, I thought, and I went to my class, trying my best to keep as much distance as possible from my other classmates.

Finally, today, I woke up, and it was much worse. I can’t pinpoint what exactly had gotten worse, but what I do know is that there was a lot of aches and dizziness involved. At this point, I decided to stay at home, because I figured that the not-so-friendly weather outside would only make things worse.

So, there I was, sitting on the couch and watching Youtube videos, while mentally complaining about my luck. But then I realized that being sick is not all that bad. Wait…don’t go thinking that I like being sick, or that I promote upping the “getting sick” rate. However, there are things that we can be thankful for even when it comes to being sick:

1) You can take naps at random times during the day, without having anyone judge you

“What, you’re going to sleep at 5:30 pm? Ok, sweety, go right ahead. Feel better by the time you wake up!” Are you kidding me? Were it not for having a cold, this would have gone something like ” What? Now?! How on earth are you going to sleep at night then?”.

2) You can be lazy without feeling bad about it

Well, partially, because if you have a great deal of things that need to be done, you’re probably going to feel a little bad anyway. But then you’ll remember that you’re sick, and you’ll realize that you need to rest in order to get better, so hey! What can you do about that?

3) You can drink pretty much everything that’s in the house

Except for alcohol. Anything other than that is fair game. Seriously, though…If I can remember correctly, today I drank an entire bottle of sparkling water, and I’m halfway through my second one, three big cups of tea (with lemon, mind you), and two glasses of carrot and apple juice.

4) You can stay in your pjs the whole day

See, I usually do this on lazy days even when I’m not really sick, but then I feel bad about it, so I end up changing at some point. But not I’m sick! That’s really the only time when I feel no remorse about sporting my pajamas as my morning, afternoon, and evening outfit.

5) You can actually do stuff that you feel like doing …

…as opposed to regular days, when you’re so busy that you can’t actually do what you really want to. For me, that was cooking and baking today. It was great to have some activity to keep me moving, since I get painfully bored just sitting on the couch the entire day.

So, that was it! These are the things I like about being sick (yes, I realize how bizarre this sounds). But it just goes to show that if you look closely enough, you can find things to be thankful for even in the worst of situations.

Have a good weekend!

/Larisa

Get in touch with me!  🙂

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Related:

Be Thankful, by Bonjourjennifer

Thanksgiving in Canada, by Bbgoodman

Pumpkins, Gratitude, and Oh Yeah – My Box, by Melsfoodblog

School, Stress, and Life

via flickr

Do you know the feeling when classes start, and you’re super excited about the new year that lies ahead of you?

No, not really? Ok, so I might be the only one.

Anyway, point is, I was really happy about the opportunity of learning new things, particularly since all  of my courses seemed fascinating. Then…well, then reality happened.

You know reality, right? It’s like that annoying person that constantly points out the literal meanings of things: “Dude, what do you mean her eyes are as bright as the stars? You can’t even look at the stars…” or “It’s raining cats and dogs outside? Cats and dogs don’t even rain…”. Well, I’ll admit that occasionally, I am that person. But I can still appreciate metaphors, unless they’re not too ridiculous.

Oh, but back to reality: it has such a sweet way of destroying hopes. Not always, but it seems to have a special talent for that… So there I was, thinking this term is going to be perfect. I kept thinking that until it started.

It took me a rather short amount of time to realize that this was not going to be the case. Juggling working as a writer and being a full time student is intense, to say the least. Not that I don’t like these two occupations…in fact, I love them! However, it’s like combining two really cool solutions in chemistry, which, on their own, are perfectly alright. Put them together and.. BOOM!!

Stress has been bubbling up in my head like a carbonated drink does when it’s agitated. I’m just hoping that once I open the “bottle” it won’t explode.

I’ve talked about stress before, and I mentioned how good stress is good for you, because it motivates you to do the things you ought to. But then there’s bad stress…the kind that makes you go out of your mind, but it fails to actually do its job.

Our society is very talented at stressing us, because of the kind of “ideal” that it promotes. This is understandable, in part, but once you realize how bad chronic stress is for the brain, you’ll probably start hoping that society would just take it down a notch.

But when that’s not an option, what’s left for us to do? Well, we have to take it down a notch ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we have to quit the job that sustains us (unless there’s certainty of another one), or that we have to self-medicate with alcohol, and other dangerous substances. Yet, we do need to self medicate somehow. Even a simple walk is sometimes efficient at lowering stress. Other times, a run might be a better candidate. Really, it should be something you enjoy doing, because otherwise there’s no point.

So this is my challenge to you: think of what can bring that stress level down, and do it. It’s not just your short-term happiness that’s at stake, but also you long-run well being.

/Larisa

Related:

One more day, by Staymiscellaneous

Have A Break… Have A KitKat!, by Apricots and Cream