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Downtime - Not a Myth, but a Necessary Reality

Brian Irving, Head of Secondary School, discusses the importance of downtime as part of a healthy lifestyle.

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As a community of learners, our lives are often frantic with deadlines to meet, planning to be done, skills to be mastered and knowledge to be absorbed. All of us are accustomed to sustained hard work of course, but sometimes we forget to build in some ‘down time’, to relax and recharge those metaphorical mental and physical batteries. Taking this time to stop and reflect can be the difference between a healthy and unhealthy lifestyle.
 
The 17th Century French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, said “All the unhappiness of men arises from one simple fact: they cannot sit quietly in their chamber.” As many of our students are currently preparing and revising for external examinations, it may seem contradictory to talk about relaxing and taking time out to reflect, however, doing 30 minutes of focused work is always better than 3 hours of unfocussed study. It is the quality, not the quantity, of work that leads to the greatest achievements.
 
Thinking about downtime, and the end of the examination periods in particular, brought to mind a Bing Crosby song (not one from my generation I hasten to add), the lyrics of which are given below:
 
“We're busy doin' nothin'
Workin' the whole day through
Tryin' to find lots of things not to do
We're busy goin' nowhere
Isn't it just a crime
We'd like to be unhappy, but
We never do have the time.”
 
The anticipation of the exams may be more stressful than the exams themselves which, in my experience, often pass in a bit of a blur. I am sure you all join me in offering our students our best wishes for their forthcoming exams.
 
Brian Irving, Head of Secondary