Wednesday, February 17th, 2021...2:34 pm

10 Breaks that take under 10 minutes—winter edition

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By: Georgia Maxwell, Gradlife Ambassador

seen of treetops covered in snow with the sky peeking out from behind their gap
Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

Last semester, I wrote a post about the importance of taking breaks, no matter how busy you are. Even though this was a million years ago (but also somehow only 3 months?), I thought I’d revisit the topic because the advice still stands. This time around, however, I decided to make all of my tips winter-themed since we might as well celebrate the weather while it’s here (and hope that it doesn’t stick around for too long). So here you have it: ten breaks that will hopefully inspire you to make room to chill even once your term starts heating up (yeah yeah I hate me too).

1. Make a Snow Angel

It turns out that not counting putting on your winter gear, making a snow angel only takes around 20 seconds (I tested this out). So I guess you could make 20 snow angels in 10 minutes! If you do this, maybe you should find a field.

2. Go for a brisk (rage) walk

Whenever I get stuck on some work and start to get annoyed, I go for a power/ anger walk around my neighbourhood. This is especially effective during the winter because the cold can be quite refreshing. If you are feeling particularly enraged, I suggest you listen to some angry music as you walk along. Sometimes I even mouth the words, depending on the mood.

3. Knit!

Okay this suggestion can only be filed under “winter” on a technicality but you can knit yourself all sorts of winter accessories! While I cannot explain to you how to knit because I’m very bad at it, U of T’s Grad Room runs a virtual knitting group every week, and you can get the info for KnitWits here! I like the idea of knitting because it’s a project you can keep returning to, and it’s something you can do while you watch TV or, you know, listen to a lecture.

a hand holding up a ball of pink yarn

4. Go skating

If you’re in Toronto, the city has a bunch of outdoor public skating rinks you can skate on for free! I know that this one would take way more than 10 minutes, but long breaks are important too, and so is having fun! So I am breaking my own rule (gasp!) to remind you of this. You can check out which skating rinks are open and register for a spot here. Have fun!

5. Write a winter-themed concrete poem

Since last semester I suggested you write a limerick for a fun little break, I felt it was only right to return to the power of poetry once again. A concrete poem is super simple, all you have to do is take a word and write it in a column down your page, and then come up with a word or line that starts with each letter of the word. Bonus points if you can throw in some rhymes. Here’s an example to get you started:

So much work, I have.
No! I say, no more!
Okay I sigh, when I’m ignored,
Well, I guess I won’t be bored.

6. Make some snowflake cut-outs

Okay, okay I know this one is also sort of cheating but I’m coming up with these as I go along and I’m quickly realizing I don’t know that much about winter. Snowflake cut-outs are super fun and easy though, and they make you feel like a kid again. The first time you try this, it might take you the whole 10 minutes to make one, but after a few breaks, you’ll be a pro! Pretty soon, you’ll have a whole snow storm’s worth, and the bonus is that you can decorate your windows with them! Convinced and want to learn? Check out this video I found (it has over 3 million views! So it’s gotta be good).

a snowflake cut-out taped to a white wall

7. Make some (rage) snowballs

I can’t endorse you throwing these at anyone, so why don’t you whip them at a tree… that has your thesis nailed to it.

8. Make some ice cubes

I really like making ice cubes, I don’t know why. I guess it’s satisfying to actually finish something you started with literally no sustained effort?

a hand holding up a green ice cube tray full of ice cubes

9. Shovel your walkway

Much like suggestion #2, this one is also great for your rage. I highly suggest you pretend that the snow is one of your assignments, and with each shovel you are sending them out into the stratosphere, never to be seen again.

10. Complain about the weather

I mean, you can’t enjoy winter all the time.

a screenshot of a text conversation. One person has texted "I'm so sick of winter" and the other replied "Stop texting me about the weather"

I know it might not feel this way, but pretty soon it’s going to be spring and we might actually miss the snow (maybe…). So I encourage you to enjoy winter while it lasts, and make sure you take some breaks! Working hard is great, but taking breaks is good for you and your work (although being good for YOU is decidedly more important). What’s your favourite thing to do during the winter? Let me know in the comments below!

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