This semester, I am not taking classes. I went to campus today to sell back some old textbooks (for the first time in four years, who knew that was a thing?), and while the atmosphere was excited, it was already a little frantic. It can be hard coming back to a routine after a break, especially if you feel like you did nothing during that break. On the other hand, if you feel like you never stopped to recharge, an immediate new routine will just be a different kind of taxing.
It’s so important to take time to relax. Whether it’s 20 minutes of reading before bed, morning meditation, or putting on your favourite playlist on the commute in to work/school, shutting off your mind to the things that are stressing and pressing you can really make a difference in how those stresses affect your day. This rings even more true when we’re talking about transitioning from one stage to another, like with a new semester or new quarter at work. For me, I’ve been waiting to start two new jobs post-holidays, and it’s been a mix of sitting around unmotivated and getting a whole lot done sporadically. Because I’m not used to having this time, I wasn’t initially using it to mindfully refresh. When I acknowledged that difference- that sleeping in and bumming around until I felt gross for not having left the house wasn’t actually effective- I tried something else. I set a sleep schedule in my phone to give me annoying gentle reminders of when I should go to sleep so I don’t stay up until 3am watching Glee on Netflix, and I tried to schedule in at least one thing to each day. Aside from that, I tried taking time for some pampering each day; sitting down with a hot chocolate and a candle and putting on a face mask or deep conditioning treatment just gave me such a sense of relaxation.
My boyfriend’s approach was to take a much deserved and needed trip back home to Vancouver Island. He’s already feeling a sense of calm, and the ocean air has him feeling spirited and alive, after only 2/14 days. He has plans in place for when he’s there, but he’ll be intentionally taking a break from his stresses and obligations. While we can’t always get out to the ocean to literally get away and recharge, what makes the difference between effectively relaxing and just lazing the day away is the intentionality. Being a sloth vs knowing why you need that time to let your batteries recharge and prepare for the next stage. You’re like a rechargeable battery. If you just plug in for a minute or two, the charge isn’t going to hold. If you want to set yourself up for the most success, you need to afford yourself that time to charge and fully refresh.
If only we could achieve that feeling of renewed readiness by hitting two keys… But it’s probably for the best that the solution isn’t instant. I guess we’ll have to keep that method reserved for our Facebook feeds.