Feeling like every day is Groundhog Day? Same. However, half term is fast approaching and although it won’t be the opportunity to get out and do something out of the ordinary, it is a chance to chill out after a pretty exhausting six weeks. Mental health awareness is incredibly important and with it comes messages about taking care of yourself, in whatever way you can. Why not try a few (or all for that matter) of these activities to beat the lockdown blues and keep occupied over half term.
Try a new hobby…
… or carry on with an old one! If you’re into social media you’ve probably seen an abundance of banana bread and sour dough starters filling your feed, you may have even attempted these yourself. Pick back up that hobby you started this time last year or, if you’ve been inspired, why not try something new?
Read for pleasure
Lecturers read day in and day out, but students’ essays and exam papers don’t exactly compare to the new novel that’s been collecting dust on your bookshelf since Christmas. Wind down with a good book and a cup of tea (or something stronger). Your creative juices may feel drained right about now so reading something inspiring might be just the thing to get your mojo back.
Go for walks in nature
If you can get out and breathe in some fresh air, do it. You’ve probably been stagnating indoors for a while with it being too dark in the evenings and your precious weekends being spent recuperating on the sofa. Explore your local area and find somewhere green to go and collect your thoughts.
Virtually catch up with friends and family
When college starts to get hectic, it can feel like you’ve fallen off the face of the earth. Give friends and family a call or video chat. Touch base with teacher friends you may not have seen outside of the college walls (or screens) too.
Have a clear out
How satisfying was that the first time round? Decluttering can make you feel lighter and less tense. Tidy room, tidy mind, right? Spend a day getting your household ducks in a row as this can sometimes fall to the wayside when work becomes a bit bonkers.
Dump the overflowing inbox
This is one of those life admin jobs that I personally avoid, however it is something to wile away a few hours and it actually reduces your carbon footprint. Every e-mail uses up energy and causes a certain amount of CO2 emissions. So why not help save the planet and tick something off your to-do list?
Have a date night (even with yourself)
Cook your favourite meal or order in, crack open a bottle of something, play a board game, make one of those charcuterie boards you see on Pinterest and eat a ridiculous amount of cheese – whatever a date night means for you, whether it be with someone you live with or flying solo, treat yourself. Because, why not?
Movie franchises are rife and there are a copious amount of trilogies or epic sagas out there to sink your teeth into. Whether it’s Harry Potter, Marvel, Star Wars or whatever floats your boat, pull out the popcorn and drag the duvet downstairs. Get comfortable, the movie marathon is about to begin.
Step away from the laptop and put the phone down. With virtual teaching being a regular practice throughout lockdown and answering parent e-mails from your phone even though it’s 8pm and you’re shoving pasta down your throat before you try and get an ‘early night’ becoming a common occurrence, it might be time to try a digital detox. Switch off the screens for a day and just see what happens. If anything, it could be an interesting experiment you share with your students when you return.
Find a new podcast to listen to
There are so many out there. Spotify could be your half term best friend. With a podcast for every topic under the sun, just sitting and listening to something other than ‘you’re on mute’ could become the perfect pastime.
Whatever you get up to this half term, let it be something other than marking and planning, because you really deserve a break.
If you're looking for a new role, you can also use the FEjobs website to search for your next move during the half term.
About the author
After completing a BA in Creative Writing and a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester, Tammy worked as a Learning Support Assistant, with a focus on helping students develop their literacy skills. She then taught as an English teacher at an all-boys comprehensive school in Berkshire. Now she has turned her sights to a career in writing, with education at the heart of it.