And … Breathe …
Sometimes you just need a break.
But I’ve found that Covid is making that slightly harder than usual right now. In previous years, my breaks from study have taken the form of walking between teaching sessions, chatting to friends in the labs and going to sports or society events. But with the majority of Uni life now online, there’s not many points where I have to get from 1 place to another, it’s not very easy to just chat to some friends for 5 mins, and society/sports events can sometimes feel hard to come by.
So I decided to look into all the different ways we can take a break from Uni work, despite the current situation.
Firstly, we are not confined to our rooms/flats (unless you’re self-isolating, of course).
It can sometimes be difficult to remember that, unless being required to self-isolate, we can still go outside. And that you can go outside on your own or in a socially distance group of up to 6 people. So one way to take a break is to go for a walk or a run around campus. Whilst central campus may feel very built-up, there are lots of green spaces that you can explore. If you head toward the outskirts of campus, you can probably expect to find some greenery.
One of my favourite running routes is along the path which goes behind Claycroft, Arthur Vick, Jack Martin and Bluebell!
If you just want to sit for a bit, there are some lovely places as well and one of my favourites is the area outside the Computer Science and Maths buildings (although I’m probably biased here as it’s so close to where I do most of my work on campus).
Above picture from: https://warwick.ac.uk/about/visiting/maps/campusmap/campus_map_september_20204.pdf with markings by myself showing my favourite running route and favourite spot to sit on campus.
But what can you actually do if you want to get some fresh air?
Well, there are the obvious activities like walking and running. If you want to explore some possible routes, this webpage is a great starting place!
If running is something you’d quite like to try but don’t know how to start, the NHS Couch to 5K scheme is a great intro to get you started! If you decide to take this up, I’d suggest starting with a smaller route of about 3km and building up the distance as you progress!
If going for a walk/run/jog isn’t for you, there are other things you can do outside (shocker):
- Mindful walking – this is basically going for a walk and meditating at the same time. It may sound similar to going for a walk, but I find that the added mindfulness element gives my walk a purpose which actually helps me to get out of the house!
- Photography – if you love taking pictures, then go outside and start taking some! They don’t have to be brilliant, this is a chance for you to experiment and can give you a purpose for being outside. You could even set yourself a challenge for the session – “take 5 photo’s”, “photograph an animal, a plant and an inanimate object”, “practice a new skill”, “take a picture every 50 steps” etc.
- Scavenger hunt – this could be a great activity to do as a flat or turn into a competition with your friends. Make a list of items to find (either to take pics of, notice or collect) and then see how quickly you can do so!
There are other opportunities to get out of your flat as well! Societies and Sports clubs are running a few in-person events (whilst sticking to the Government guidelines) so keep an eye on what they are doing! In particular, many sports clubs are still running taster and training sessions so go along and try something new (or old) out!
If you’re having to self-isolate or just don’t want to go outside right now, there are plenty of other ways to take a break which don’t involve social media or streaming TV!
Many Societies and Sports clubs are running online socials and events which can be great to meet new people, get a feel for the society/club and just take a break from work. Keep an eye what’s going on and go to anything that sounds interesting!
Other ideas for taking a break inside include:
- Yoga – there are plenty of free yoga tutorials online and yoga is a great way to relax and stretch whenever you feel you need a break!
- 7 minute workout – it might not be very long but 7 minutes of exercise can do you a lot of good! There are lots of resources on the internet to lead you through a 7 minute workout which can be done in your bedroom and will get your heart pumping!
- Dance – just put on some music and start dancing! You don’t have to be good or even know what you’re doing for this to work; the music and exercise will go a long way in lifting your mood and giving your brain a break!
- Flat social – get out a pack of cards or cook a meal together. Doing something as a flat is a great way to bond and a great chance to do something a little different so try organising something or just hang out in the kitchen and have a chat!
- Read – step into someone else’s story for a bit whilst giving your eyes a break from screens!
- Cook or clean – these may seem a bit dull and something you usually have to do but don’t really want to. But they’re actually a really good way of taking a break as it’s difficult to get distracted by Uni or social media whilst cooking or cleaning!
Hopefully that’s given you a few ideas on what you could do when taking a break from work. Never feel guilty about needing a break, in fact, needing breaks is what makes us human (rather than robots)!
So, have a break … And maybe a kitkat?