Take a Break

Principals Pen Thursday, 09 Sept 2021

We often underestimate the importance of rest.

Play breaks, unstructured afternoons and evenings, relaxing weekends and friend-oriented school holidays are essential for student learning.

How often have you discovered inspired solutions when on a long walk, in the shower, or engaging in other quiet and often perceived meaningless activities? Science tells us that taking a break from an activity that has a cognitive load actually helps us to better process and retain information. When engaged in intense learning activity, our brains are in the ‘focussed’ state, and our learning becomes specific or narrow. We lose sight of the big picture, and we forfeit our capacity to be creative and connect the dots. Studies show that it’s at times of recreation - when our brains are in the ‘diffused’ state - that we are able to process big ideas and solve our most difficult problems.

Despite everything, society says about how busy we need to be, ignore it. Just because society tells us to wear busyness as a badge of honour doesn’t mean it’s good for our family or us. We are free indeed. During the term break, delight in the joys of a changed routine. Experience slowness, boredom and daydreaming as much as your circumstances allow. Sleep in, unplug and hide the devices, build cubby houses, bake muffins, paint rocks, make toys out of cardboard boxes, play board games, dance. Go for long walks, go for short walks. Walk with bare feet on sand, grass and gravel. Laugh. A lot. And recommit to valuing relationships and connection over success and progress. After all, God created us to be in relationship with him and in relationship with others. He created us as human beings, not human doings.

Rest, distraction, boredom and undignified laughter are precious in our overcommitted lives.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

- Jane Mueller, Principal