Memorial Day in the US is traditionally the unofficial start of summer, but ironically it’s also the start of a busy community season around the world.
With more students out of school, code contributions on various projects tend to rise. Conferences also tend to increase in frequency (particularly towards the end of the season). But even as life gets busier, it’s important to remember to pace yourself.
Working within communities can create a bit of a double trap. If it’s part of your day job, then taking breaks might seem to be antithetical to your professional career. (This is something Americans especially have a problem with.)
If being within a community is part of your non-professional life, you might think that community participation is your break time. A way to relax and still contribute to something constructive. Why, then, do you need a break from a break?
The issue is, while we all different ways of relaxing, that’s not really the same as resting. It’s relaxing for me to write a blog, but my brain is still working and it’s not resting. That’s why sometime you just need a real break. If your work is intellectual in nature, then give your mind some time off. Watch a movie, play a game, get some exercise.
Doing nothing may not seem productive, but it very much can be. Just a few days off can recharge your system, and give you renewed creativity and motivation.
It doesn’t have to be weeks, or even days. Make time when you can to care for your own mental health on any given day.