What does Spring Break mean to you? Do you define it with images of wet t-shirt contests and binge drinking at a seedy motel on the beach? Or do you imagine tranquil oceans and reading a book in a lounge chair? Perhaps the phrase means a family trip to Disney world or a vacation to visit grandma and grandpa in Arizona. The point is we all have definitions of spring break and regardless of what they are most of us imagine Spring Break as an opportunity to leave the cold, get some sunshine and get away.
What if I told you there was more to Spring Break than you imagine? What if I told you that the theory, the reasoning, and even the method behind Spring Break goes deeper than just a trip to the beach? Would you look at it different? Would you still be bummed when you can’t manage to take a trip? Would you find a different way to get your Spring Break??
This year Spring Break held a much different meaning for me. This is the year I started a new chapter of my nutrition career. I started teaching at Bemidji State University, granted it is only an adjunct position but never the less, I am a new instructor so it is very time consuming. I have found myself the last few weeks thinking more and more about Spring Break. I have had several thoughts about it… These range from wishing I was going somewhere warm, to being grateful to be able to finally catch up on all my grading and maybe get ahead with some lesson planning. The cold weather definitely has me wishing we were headed south, but lingering on that line of thought isn’t healthy either because I cant change that now. No vacation is planned and quite frankly, no vacation is possible until May. Does that mean I don’t get a break? Does that mean I should take that time to work harder and catch up like my thoughts are leading me to think?
For any of you that know me well, you know that my first thought when I have free time is: “What work can I fill this time with?” Even now, I am taking the 15 minutes before I bring the kids to school to write a blog. It’s hard for me to take a break and relax and not work. Even when I do take a break I end up filling it with household activities or try to see a friend or do something with the kids so that I can justify the time I spent away from work. Some would call me a workaholic, some might say I am dedicated, others still would say I’m a perfectionist or quite possibly that I’m a little nuts. What I say is that I am unorganized and inefficient with my time management which, results in me having to work harder and longer than is necessary. Whether there is truth in my assessment of myself or not, I can tell you that even if I managed my time well I would probably just find more work to do. The point is I am not familiar or comfortable with a break.
As I sat and pondered what I would get done over that week and excitedly drew up massive ‘To-Do’ lists, I began to have doubts. What if I was looking at Spring Break wrong? What if I shouldn’t be using that time to catch up? Maybe I should take a break? I am all about honesty and there is no time to change that now, so I will be frank. This scared the shit out of me. Take a break?!?!? Are you nuts?!??! (This is the conversation I had in my head) To me taking a break means falling behind and that means more stress later. But wait a minute; don’t I tell my clients to take time for them selves? Don’t I tell them that meditation, yoga, quiet contemplation, mindless tasks, reading, just sitting are all good things for them? Would they not equally be good for me? Could it be justifiable to read a book mid day instead of only late at night when I should be sleeping? Could it be justifiable to read a juicy romance instead of the latest diet trend/entrepreneur/make it big/self help book of the month? For that matter, why do I need to justify it?
This post has a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. But that’s what its intended for. Just as I need to consider and contemplate what this break could mean for me so to do you all need to think about what it means to you. Perhaps you have no kids and have graduated college years ago so Spring Break is something you used to watch on MTV but means little to you these days. Or perhaps you do have kids and Spring Break is a time that you have to take off of work or scramble to find a babysitter for that week. Whatever your situation in life I want you to think about the meaning of Spring Break as it applies to you. Remind yourself that Spring Break isn’t just reserved for wild 21 year olds; Spring Break is necessary for us all. Think about what it is on a basic level. It’s a break in the springtime.
A break. A moment to breathe. A chance. A chance to close your eyes. An opportunity to consider the change of season, to consider the changes in your own life. To relish in the opportunity that the rebirth of the earth gives you. To plan your own rebirth in a sense, your own coming out of the cold winter. What are some things you want to do this year? I realize for many of us the year starts when the calendar year begins or perhaps it starts with the school year. For me spring is like a new year to me. I love rebirth and renewal and nothing screams that more than spring.
So go ahead and take your Spring Break to a deeper level. If you can sneak a little ‘get away’ in then do it! If you cant try to take your break mentally. Put a new screen saver of a beach scene on your computer. Go for a walk on a sunny day outside. No sunny days? Give yourself a spring-cleaning task. Clean out a closet. Not wanting to clean for your break? Go to the book store and randomly pick out a new book. Don’t take the time to compare, just pick out the first one you are drawn to. Go home and start that new book. Even take your spring break to practice Hygge. Not sure what that is? Google it. Whatever you do make sure to utilize this time. Make sure to relish it, whether you take a day, a weekend or even a week. Be sure to take your break this spring. I know I will.