Many have remarked that this term – where we have learnt remotely and then come back together as school communities, but with new routines and habits – has been “the longest term ever”. And with holidays of two or three weeks coming up, many senior students will be looking to recharge the batteries.
And while recharging the batteries is important, how much is too much? Can we afford to take all this time off our studies?
The answer is sadly, no.
Even on holidays, we have to strive for balance. It is what every martial arts master tells us is the key to life.
Yes, we need to take some time out over these holidays – we need to sleep in, connect with others and make sure there is ample time for all those other wonderful daily habits our Wellbeing Hive has been promoting – exercise, reading, creating and being mindful (in whatever way suits you)! This is being kind to ourselves and acknowledging the importance of self-care. But we must also recognize that sometimes self-care means thinking forward, and not swinging too far away from our routine. Self-care is doing something for your future self.
Two or three weeks fully away from your studies may actually make life difficult when we head back to school. Remember that a good proportion of your time in Year 12 should not be about simply completing tasks set by the teacher, but should be about studying and revising content. Most exams at the end of the year will cover a whole year of coursework – and you would be smart to be revising Semester 1 material regularly. You may also already be preparing for Unit 4 assessment tasks – and many of the best students, destined to score well, will be completing practice work on this over the holidays.
If you switch off entirely, you may find yourself quite a bit behind.
Instead, consider finding that magical balance on this break. Plan lots of down time and whatever feels energizing for you – but also put aside time to stay connected to your school work. You might be the kind of person who likes to get up at normal time, do a morning of work, revision and school-related reading, and then have afternoons and evenings to yourself. You might also like to schedule whole days of work and whole days of play to help yourself switch off more. You could experiment with either of these over this break, knowing that the Term 3 holidays and your study break before exams will require good habits to be in place in advance.
Teachers are experts at this – holidays for us are always a blend of rest and relaxation, forward preparation and marking of work. And I am sure teachers would be happy to talk to you about what strategies they use to balance it all.
This may sound awful – and I wish we could all give ourselves permission to switch off entirely. But instead, remember that having time where you still need to work and focus makes you even more grateful for those moments you do have to do what you want. And this can be a lovely thought to embrace.
So do your future self a favour and stay in a little bit of routine these holidays. Remember what a huge investment you are making in yourself this year – and be proud of that. Keep those end goals in mind and know that when it is all over – you can give yourself permission to take as much time out as you need!
Photo by Artem Bali