The Art of Taking a Break | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

The Art of Taking a Break

Life&Style writer Katharine Smith explains the importance of taking a break

The stereotype of a lazy student just isn’t true anymore. Coasting through university with no work experience, society involvement or commendable grades isn’t the expectation. There is so much pressure on us, hitting us at all angles: our academic commitments, social life and societies are just a few of the possible things we can be dealing with as 21st-century students.

There is always something else on the to-do list
 I realised after submitting three essays with the deadlines within a week of each other that I had burnt myself out. I crashed on the Friday night and didn’t want to leave my bed the next day. And I felt guilty about it, because there is always something else on the to-do list. But when I consider everything I have been doing in terms of my course, volunteering, societies, exercise and desperately searching for internships and work experience, I realised that I had every right to have a break. I am allowed to indulge in my exhaustion for at least a day, and you are too.

Taking breaks from commitments and responsibilities from time to time will not be letting anyone down
 We have a duty to ourselves to stay well; yes, work hard and get the most out of the opportunities that are offered to us at UoB, but do it on your terms. Taking breaks from commitments and responsibilities from time to time will not be letting anyone down. We need to look after our physical and mental health. These are meant to be the best years of our lives as we are so often reminded, so I don’t want to wreck them by being constantly stressed and concerned about keeping up, counting down the days until my deadlines are out of the way only to be hit by stress from a different source.

I have never resented any part of my university experience (apart from my Widening Horizons module in first year but we all know the struggle). I absolutely love being a part of Redbrick and the opportunities, friends and sense of reward it has provided me with. My course constantly teaching me new things and allows me to think in different ways. I have tried sports I never knew I would (my parents were particularly surprised to hear I’d spent my third weekend at UoB in the Peak District climbing in the freezing cold). I can honestly say I’ve had the best time so far, and I am learning to not let the volume of tasks to complete hold me back from enjoying my three short years in the second city.

Moments of stress are inevitable and can give us the adrenaline to see an essay to the end or finish the last bit of revision
 Of course, it’s not all going to be plain sailing. We are working towards degrees which shouldn’t be an easy task. Moments of stress are inevitable and can give us the adrenaline to see an essay to the end or finish the last bit of revision. However, I see so many of my friends in a relentless state of stress – if we’re not careful it can seep into our conversations at the pub or nag at us while we’re trying to watch Elizabeth be hilarious on the latest instalment of The Apprentice.  So let your breaks be actual breaks. Not interludes where you are ‘taking a break’ but still being stressed that you’re not doing anything. We are all guilty of that.

I hope that one day I’ll have my life so together that stress never enters the equation. But let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen. So for now, I’m learning to slow down and enjoy life as it is without getting swept up in all the things I could or should be doing instead.

Taking breaks from commitments and responsibilities from time to time will not be letting anyone down.



Published

7th December 2017 at 9:00 am



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