This post refers to the break between the first and second semesters of an academic year, which in the Northern Hemisphere tends to incorporate the Christmas holidays. Often the exams and assignments that come in at the end of the semester need to be graded before the beginning of the new semester, which tends to make it less break-like. A previous post addressed ignoring the big stack of grading in favour of research. This post encourages you to ignore the grading in order to have a proper holiday.
Rest. Relaxation. Rejuvenation.
Reading novels for no purpose other than entertainment and enjoyment.
Playing games with your kids, your friends, or just having a marathon session on your video game platform of choice.
Knitting. Sewing. Baking. Building bookshelves. Or your handcraft of choice.
Walking in the snow (or on the beach, depending on your geographic location).
Cooking and eating a wonderful meal. Lingering over wine and dessert.
What are all these compared to getting more work done?
Isn’t that just laziness?
You deserve a break.
You work hard. Your work is not your life. You don’t need a reason to actually take time off during this holiday season. You don’t need to be celebrating anything. You don’t need worthwhile activities.
If you do need a reason, try this one on for size.
Working without breaks does not improve your output. Your body and brain need rest to function at their best. Pushing through leads to declining productivity. Not to mention burnout, relationship breakdown and a whole host of other things you’d rather not have. Not taking a real break regularly is a false economy.
Ignore that pile of grading for a week. No one will die.
This post has been added to one of my themed Spotlights all about Grading Season. Click for the introduction and all associated posts.
If you’d like to be part of a community that is based on the principle that you can be an excellent academic AND take real breaks, and have access to resources to help you plan and develop your writing practice, consider joining the Studio.
Edited May 27, 2016. Additional related posts added October 2021.