StressLess – Study Break

Study Break Routine

When you have tons of things to get done, nothing feels better than reaching that flow state where it feels like everything is just working. But, on the reverse side, crashing from that productive high when you still have things to get done can feel disheartening. If you feel yourself getting to this point, it’s time to take a break. However, if you’re like me, taking a break always comes with the risk of falling into a slump and before you know it, the day is ending, and you never got the rest of those things done. When you’ve been working hard and you’re crashing, it can be tempting to spend your break doing something mindless like scrolling through your phone or watching the next episode in whatever series you’re hooked on. However, these activities can easily increase the amount of resistance you face in trying to get back to your work, and you might end up not getting back to it. To avoid that happening, I’ve come up with a study break routine to help you feel refreshed instead of sluggish, and hopefully get you back into that flow state. 

To use your break effectively, start with leaving everything as is, and taking a step away from your workspace. Physically removing yourself from your work environment will help you leave your work at your desk and allow you to shift your focus onto something else. What you don’t want to do is continue thinking about your work during your break. If you spend your whole break thinking about work, then you’re not taking a break. 

After stepping away, check-in with yourself. If you’ve been working for a while, odds are you probably have some physical needs that require tending to. Prepare yourself a nourishing snack, grab a glass of water (maybe with some lemon, if you’re feeling fancy), and sit down. At this point, you’ll probably experience the highest amount of temptation to either scroll your phone or watch something. But, since we’re trying to make sure we get back to work, do your best to avoid giving in to this. Instead, take this time to just sit with yourself, take a breather, and enjoy your snack.

After you’ve replenished your vitals, I’d suggest performing some acts of personal hygiene. This can be washing your face, having a shower, flossing your teeth, or even just changing your clothes. Maybe this is a bit of an odd study break activity, but I find doing something for my hygiene makes me feel refreshed like my day is starting anew. As well, I find simple things like changing my clothes or taking a shower help break up the day, letting me leave what has already happened behind, and focusing on what’s coming up next. 

By now, you should have recovered some of that “fresh start” feeling. Before getting back to work, get your blood flowing with some physical movement. Sitting for a long time can cause stiffness and constrict blood flow, which is not an optimal condition for getting work done. Depending on the weather, you can maybe go for a walk outside, or you can just stay in and do some stretches or a quick at-home workout. Getting a little bit of movement during your break can help bring some energy back into your day and help you feel that much more refreshed. Just make sure you don’t do so much movement that you’re too tired to get any more work done.

 When you’re starting to feel like your mind’s a bit clearer, you’ve regained some energy, and you’re ready to get back to work, do a quick reset of your workspace. Organize your material, put away things you’re finished with and keep out things you still need, remove empty mugs or glasses, and close browser tabs and windows you don’t need open anymore. Before starting again, take stock of what you’ve done, and what you still need to do. After assessing what you still have left to do, decide on somewhere to start, typically on the most important item. Then, get back to it. 

Study Break Checklist
  • Step Away from Workspace
  • Nourish Your Vitals
  • An Act of Personal Hygiene
  • Get Some Movement
  • Organize Your Workspace
  • Take Stock of Tasks
  • Get Back to It 

Celebrating the Beauty of Black Culture

The dream Martin Luther King Jr spoke of in his famous speech is on its way to being a reality. This dream is being made possible by the great individuals who played an instrumental part in the growth of the Black community, including allies across all backgrounds.

Check out the category below that highlights the beauty of the black culture. 

Connect with these community organizations for resources and knowledge: 

For centuries black communities around the world have created hairstyles that are uniquely their own. These hairstyles span back to the ancient world and continue to weave their way through the social, political and cultural conversations surrounding black identity today.” Check out this Visual History of Iconic Black Hairstyles to learn more about Black hair.

Check out:  Harriets Humongous Hair by Ni Lo 

The species and flavors of African cooking are not just about food but are a living testament to the strength and movement of the African Diaspora. Cooking is not solely about feeding oneself– through cooking one comes to learn about the land and their relationship with it, their traditions, and their community. Particularly in America. The story of Black cooking is a tale of resilience and ingenuity. Black folks have learned to keep their traditions alive via cooking and the storytelling involved in it. 

Check out this list of regionally popular African spices, are any of them familiar to you? Are they popular in your family’s regional cuisine? Consider using and learning more about them in celebration of Pan-African culture.

East Africa

  • Cumin
  • Tumeric
  • Corainder
  • Fresh Tamarind
  • Grated Coconut

West Africa

  • Curry Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Maggi Cube
  • Thyme
  • Bay Leaf
  • Nutmeg

 North Africa

  • Zaatar 
  • Cumin
  • Sumac
  • Sesame (toasted Sesame) 
  • Mint 
  • Lemon

 

Rhythm – human library

STRESSLESS – VISION BOARDING

SET-UP

To begin, separate your page into two sections. I’m using a journal, but you can also you just a sheet
of paper or a word document. The first section will be our “Where I Want to Be” section, and the second will be our “How I’m Going to Get There”. Then, divide each section into as many smaller sub-sections as you would like (I’m using four per section). Each sub-section will be dedicated to a different area of your life, so make as many sub-sections as different areas you want to focus on. Once you have your layout set up, you can start filling in the title of each section and sub-section. Here, I’ve written, “Where I Want to Be” and “How I’m Going to Get There”, as well as labeled the sub-sections “school,” “work,” “personal,” and “social.”  

WHERE I WANT TO BE

Take a moment to think about some goals you would like to accomplish in each area you’ve identified. These goals can be as long-term or short-term as you would like, but I find it most helpful to envision things that I wish I was already accomplishing rather than things I would like to accomplish “one day.” You can come up with some goals and then write them under their corresponding sub-section, or you can go sub-section by sub-section and think about each area of life and what goals you want to accomplish in each (which is what I did). Make sure to only identify a reasonable number of goals, as making too many goals can result in you feeling overwhelmed and discouraged from achieving them. Once you’ve written down your “Where I Want to Be” goals, we can move on to “How I’m Going to Get There.” 

How I’m Going to Get There

In this section, we will be coming up with concrete steps that can be taken to achieve these goals. General goals such as “workout more” or “read more” are typically difficult to achieve because they rely on willpower to somehow make them happen, rather than an easy-to-follow action plan. So here, go back over the goals you have written in your “Where I Want to Be Section”. For each goal you’ve listed, write a plan of how you will achieve it in the same corresponding sub-section, but in the “How I’m Going to Get There” section. For me, my goal to do more physical activity became a goal to go to the gym three times a week; my goal to practice more piano became a goal to practice piano every other day. After you’ve turned your general goals into manageable actions, all you have to do is do your best to perform these actions, and you will be well on your way to achieving your goals.

FINISHING TOUCHES

Now that you have completed both your “Where I Want to Be” and “How I’m Going to Get There” sections, do whatever you need to do to personalize it. This can be decorating it, putting it somewhere you know you’ll see it, adding your action plans into a habit-tracker, or anything that will make it work for you! 

 

How To Quick Pickle Any Vegetable

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2-pound fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, green beans, summer squash, or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 sprig fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill, or rosemary (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons whole spices, such as black peppercorns, coriander, or mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs or ground spices (optional)
  • 1 cloves garlic, smashed or sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar, such as white, apple cider, or rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, or 2 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)

EQUIPMENT

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board
  • 1 wide-mouth jar with lids
  • Canning funnel (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the jars. Wash jars, lids, and rings in warm, soapy water and rinse well. Set aside to dry, or dry completely by hand.
  2. Prepare the vegetables. Wash and dry the vegetables. Peel the carrots. Trim the end of beans. Cut vegetables into desired shapes and sizes.
  3. Add the flavorings. Divide the herbs, spices, or garlic you are using between the jars.
  4. Add the vegetables. Pack the vegetables into the jars, making sure there is a 1/2 inch of space from the rim of the jar to the tops of the vegetables. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing.
  5. Make the brine. Place the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (if used) in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine over the vegetables, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. You might not use all the brine.
  6. Remove air bubbles. Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more brine if necessary.
  7. Seal the jars. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
  8. Cool and refrigerate. Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.

RECIPE NOTES

Storage: These pickles are not canned. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. If you process and can the jars, they can be stored at room temperature unopened.

Check Out Your Community League

Community leagues are great places to work on local projects. They offer various services to their residents’ and a space to engage with one’s immediate community. Leagues often have many free or reduced-price classes, space for gardening, and event rental opportunities.

Alberta Avenue, Community League, for example, has a stunning garden and a honeybee hive! They host many exciting events, including; garden pub nights, outdoor pro wrestling matches (cage and all), Qigong, frequent naloxone training workshops, honeybee hive inspections, and more!

Community leagues are great places to volunteer and do extraordinary things in your neighborhood!

Click here to view your local community league.

Garden #1
Garden #2