#HErelax: Work less, do more, live better

Readers offer their insights into clocking off and enjoying the world beyond work

August 21, 2014

“Work less, do more, live better” was the message behind our cover feature earlier this month, in which scholar @PatienceSchell urged her fellow academics to ensure that they make time for a life outside their professional obligations.

But how do those of you who work in the 24/7 world of higher education let off steam? We used our Twitter account (@timeshighered) to find out, asking you to share your favourite methods of relaxation using the hashtag #HErelax.

Some of you were sceptical about the very idea of time off. Kevin Barker (@DrKevinBarker), who describes himself as a “legal scholar”, said: “Downtime? Unwind? Difficult on this planet called Academia”. However, he did have some advice. “Avoiding fellow academics in downtime helps,” he tweeted.

Vincent Gauci (@GauciGauci), senior lecturer in earth systems and ecosystems science at The Open University, was keen to make sure his students didn’t work themselves too hard.

“I tell my research students that new creative ideas are not born from a 60hr wk in the lab,” Dr Gauci tweeted sagely. “Go lie on a beach somewhere for a week,” is what he tells his charges.

“As a [woman in science] with kids & non-#highered hubby, I learnt to #HErelax (minus guilt) from a #LifeCoach, 15 yrs ago,” recounted Dawn Bazely (@dawnbazely), a professor in the Department of Biology at York University in Canada, while Sam Grogan (@SamGrogan), dean of students at the University of Salford, said that “running and/or walking with my dog in the #Shire hills” was his chosen relaxation method. “By the time I get home, solutions have appeared,” he added.

“Highly recommend salsa, yoga and good food! Very non-academic! Wonderful!” enthused Nicola Rollock (@NicolaRollock), deputy director at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Research in Race and Education, while Heather Mitchell-Buck (@profheathermb), assistant professor of English at Hood College in the US, revealed that she unwinds “after teaching & research with #taiko! Hitting big drums with big sticks = great way to #HErelax”. She even posted a picture.

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