How was your long weekend?
This fall break I took six days off to visit a high school friend of mine in Vancouver, and decided to think as little about school and impending projects as possible, although I might regret this decision in a few days when deadlines explode on me.
The city was beautiful.
It rained a lot, which meant I got the full on Vancouver experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed meandering along the streets day and night, eating, catching up with old friends, making new ones, and exploring different parts of the city.
I thought about how we always let our fatigue and stress build and build, then travel elsewhere during holiday periods to find leisure and take breaks from our busy lives.
I also thought about why this trip to Vancouver over fall break was so relaxing and restful.
I like to take breaks every day.
I find myself more engaged, more interested and more relaxed in my daily activities when I take a “break”.
These breaks are not abrupt escapist moments from the overwhelming nature of work. In fact, they share a lot in common with my trip to Vancouver.
1. Daily breaks are about finding a quiet center.
Vancouver is home to beautiful, forest-covered mountains. Every morning I would take a little time to just soak in the view, and let it settle somewhere in my brain.
Finding a quiet centre is like taking in a view, all you have to do is take some time to savour something you truly enjoy.
Let the memory of that emotion sit in your mind so you can go back to it again throughout the day and centre yourself.
The environment is a big factor in breaks, and there are many spaces on campus you can head to if you need some physical quiet.
Here’s a list of Multi-Faith spaces you can go to for prayer or meditation.
Other spaces include the Center for International Experience, Hart House or any of the many libraries we have at our downtown campus.
2. Daily breaks are observed, more than created.
A big reason why this trip was so restful was that I did not try too hard to make it so. Many times, I was most relaxed and happy in organic, mundane moments. All I had to do was acknowledge its presence. When you get a chance to slow down a little bit between classes, take note of it! Knowing that you had this moment will contribute to feeling more relaxed.
I came across a beautiful quiet space last year, in Knox College on St. George.
There is a chapel on the second floor that I sometimes go to and sit in.
If the weather is warm enough (so if you plan this 4 months from now…) they also have a fabulous little quad.
3. Daily breaks are always better with food.
I think we can all acknowledge the truth of this one.
I feasted to my heart’s content this trip, sometimes with company, other times on my own. There were loud restaurants, quiet cozy cafes, dim lounges and energetic diners. They were all wonderful.
Be intentional about your food breaks.
Don’t gulp your tea while skimming a PDF.
Enjoy your meal, a snack, tea or coffee, alone or with others, in public or in private.
I’ve developed a habit of checking in almost daily on Gerstein library’s selection of soups.
My favorites so far include their Cream of Broccoli, and Turkey with Wild Rice.
Other eatable options on campus I love include:
- The Buttery at Trinity (Gerald Larkin) has amazing couches, so I eat there sometimes but always sleep after.
- The Varsity (behind Robarts) is a Korean restaurant with nice quiet space at the back.
- Timmy’s…wherever Timmy’s may be because we all love Timmy’s.
The key to a break is enjoyment.
Spend a little bit of time each day doing something you really enjoy.
It makes a big difference.
Here is a final photo for you to enjoy.
Maybe his adorable face can be a small break in your day today.