Taking a Break

March 7, 2022

Xiang Zhou

Breaks are usually quite appreciated for—among other things—giving your work schedule some leeway to take a breather. It is only natural to feel the need to plan some unfinished tasks during the break to make time management a little easier.

Now, I’m not here to ask you to ignore your to-do list throughout a break altogether. Many of us may not have the choice to leave work at the doorstep, especially after the worldwide shift to work-from-home as a corollary of the COVID-19 pandemic. It gets even more difficult when assignments are due during or right after a break. Today, we want to talk a bit about setting effective boundaries during breaks so that you can relax and be re-energized.

There are a few things you can keep in mind as you construct work-life boundaries during your break.

Naisargi Mehta

1. Separate the “Have-To-Do”s from Your “To-Do” List

When you learn about a task or an assignment, you may feel a sense of urgency to finish it right away and ‘get it over with.’ However, it’s helpful to keep in mind that a sense of urgency does not always reflect true urgency. During your break, divide your to-do list into two sets: 1) of things you have to get done and 2) things that you can get to after the break. This will ensure that you’re not taking on more than what you need to during your break. You can then use the rest of your time to relax without feeling guilty about unfinished tasks.

2. Secure Avenues of Self-Care

Self-care looks different for everyone. If you’re going home for the break, the chances are that you will have some social responsibilities added to your routine as well. It is vital to secure avenues for self-care during those times. It may be keeping an evening to yourself or planning an outing with the people you love. For example, as an introvert, it’s always essential for me (Ness) to schedule my social responsibilities in a manner that does not completely drain me. Coming from a collectivist background, it does not always go according to plan, but I (Ness) make sure to let people close to me know when I need some space to recharge.

3. Don’t Let Your Brain Guilt You

Things may not always go as planned. After all, it is a break! What is a break without impromptu decisions? If you cannot catch up on all the things you’d hoped to, it is okay. Remember, a break is for you to recuperate and rest.

We hope that you will have a wonderful Spring break!

Dr. Xiang Zhou and Dr. Mehta 

Dr. Xiang Zhou is an assistant professor of counseling psychology in the College of Education. He is interested in understanding protective and risk factors among racial minority youth and families. Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week!

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