As designers our Shillington Teachers know that the job can often see you spending long hours in front of the computer screen—and they also know how important it is to get away from the screen, stretch your legs and give your eyes a rest. For Shillington Post 09—The Wellbeing Issue, we spoke to six of our teachers from our campuses around the world to give us the low down on how they take five.
From coffee to cycling, they each gave unique ways that they take their breaks—and some good ways of making sure you do take them! Read on.
“Finding time offline isn’t as easy for us ‘creative’ types. The majority of our life is spent in the digital world, whether that be working on design projects or just general participation in the community. And now even more so since the pandemic time online has been exacerbated, not only to drive creative pursuits but more importantly to nourish human connection. The latter was once an analog experience, one that brought balance to us ambitious designers but now our landscape looks very different and it is vital that we are able to trade pixels with peace. Everyone will have their own approach for this, but I’m a pragmatic human being and anything other than something simple when calling for pause is redundant, because as we all know it’s easier to stay down the rabbit hole than to take a moment to breathe. As for pragmatism, here are two decisions I make every day to take a break from my screen:
Contrary to popular belief in the creative community, health is our biggest asset. And ensuring our body is functioning optimally has a massive effect on our mind. As creatives, we put an enormous amount of stress on ourselves—Meeting multiple deadlines, pushing the limits of healthy work hours resulting in the poor choice of nutrition at mealtimes and unbroken amounts of time seated hunched over in front of screens. All of these when added up day after day, week after week, year after year (you get the point) lead to some serious fatigue and potentially dangerous health consequences. But luckily we have a choice and as the proverbial saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure’.
The first is to set a time to workout, move your body! It doesn’t have to be fancy. Download an app, watch a youtube video or go for a run. Just simply move your body in a different position that we bound our bodies to.
And two, prepare a nourishing meal. Once again it doesn’t have to be fancy, Instagram is an unlimited resource of ideas if you don’t know where to start #healthyliving #wholefoods (haha but seriously). The power of going through all of the motions of cooking yourself a meal is unrivalled. Focusing on your ingredients and consciously knowing what you’re putting in your body can be a meditative experience and one that your body will thank you for. Feeding your body with food that will give your brain the fuel to function optimally is essential for our line of work.
So there you have it, two simple decisions we can make every day that will enable you to take a much-needed break and at the same time build a healthy relationship with your mind and body. That reminds me, I’ve just spent three hours straight writing and editing this. It’s time for me to get outside. Until next time Shillo gang. Stay safe out there.”
“Being a coffee snob I like to make my own from home, which means weighing the beans, setting the right grind setting, measuring the water ratios to get the perfect cup.
During lunch can be the ideal time to get a workout done at home or in the park with a mate with social distancing of course.
Reading a few chapters of my book has been a great way to allow my mind to switch off from creating. During that time I find that ideas pop into my mind as it’s in that relaxed state. Keeping my phone in another room or at home is important as we all know we can lose hours right before our eyes.
Cooking has always been a place where I can still be creative, but it’s for me. The perfect playlist is key so I can find that groove when I come to preparing the meal, followed by cooking it, a cold beer or glass a wine always helps when I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner.
Living in New York allows me to capture shots of some many different things such as people on the way somewhere or the surrounding area, I find adventuring into different neighbourhoods or boroughs important to me as it ignites the spirit of exploration.”
“It seems we are constantly surrounded by small glowing rectangles, and stare at them all from a short fixed distance. Therefore checking your phone or watching TV doesn’t constitute a screen break so getting out of the house is the best way to fully escape and recharge.
As a keen cyclist I have a natural excuse to get out on a bike and head to the woods or hills. You are treated to infinite different sources of light and ever-changing focal points.
Plus having to suddenly dodge the odd unwary squirrel ensures your eyes get a nice healthy workout.”
“I know I am the worst for getting myself away from the computer, so I try to get my green time and some headspace before I start in the mornings. Every morning, or as many as I can manage, I go for a run or do some strength training. It’s a great way to clear my head before sitting down at my desk.
My Apple Watch is also great as it gives me prompts to stand up!
I also have a glass of water on my desk that I get up and refill whenever its empty—that way I can ensure I stay hydrated and get mini breaks away from my desk.”
“Being a freelancer, working from home can be very draining. There’s no separation between work and play. While I do love watching Netflix and playing video games, I try not to be that person who says “So tired of looking at bad screen. Can’t wait to go and look at good screen.”
I find the best way to get a break is to just go outside and take a walk. It feels good to move my body after sitting all day and I find that when I’m walking, I’m focused on the world around me and not on my work.
These days, it’s easy to become a hermit stuck at home, but I think going outside at least once a day can be so important to recharging your creative battery and improving your overall mood.”
“In a high-pressure, high-efficiency society, taking a break from work—and by that, I mean taking a break from the computer—has become one of the most important tasks of my day! As designers we can spend hours designing, researching, looking for inspiration and getting into information rabbit holes…But that means that we can go on and on without a break.
I have naturally a short attention span, so I have always taken short 10-15 minute breaks during the day to refill my water bottle or coffee and stretch my legs. But since the world started working from home, I started implementing a few ‘rituals’ to keep me from spending my whole life in front of a computer—I stand up a lot more from my desk and always keep a glass of water in front of me.
I try to finish my working day at 5.30-6pm and I close my computer for the day. I then go for a walk to the park or watch something relaxing on Netflix. At the end of the day I always read around 1 hour before going to bed, and on a good day I might do 20min of yoga… but that is still a work in progress habit.”
Hopefully some of these tips will become part of your break away from the computer—we can’t stress enough how important it is to give yourself time away from the screen. Want to read some more invaluable tips and articles about wellbeing in the design industry? Read the Shillington Post 09—The Wellbeing Issue online now or pick up a copy in person at one of our Info Sessions.