The holidays are coming up in one form or another. Either you are celebrating Christmas or you are getting ready to ring in the New Year. Or maybe you are just in the mood to take a break from all the hard work that this year has given you. In so many words, it is time to take a longer than usual break from doing tough stuff.
And everybody needs time to unwind every now and then. I truly believe that you need to take a step back, have a breather and then jump back into the thick of it. It does a lot of good things for you. It helps you re-focus on what is really important to you and your life. It allows you sometime to re-think some of your study habits, etc…
But, how do you take a break in way that you still keep the habit? How can you make easing back into studying a little easier? After all, language learning is sometimes a lifelong journey, so you don’t want to stop completely while you have the momentum going, but you still need to take a break.
Important to Take Breaks
First things first, don’t feel guilty for taking a few days off. I know 95% of the people reading this are probably laughing at that statement, but there are people that actually feel guilty for taking a little break from studies. Or feel nervous that they won’t be able to pick it back up again after the holiday. But, don’t worry, you need this time, you deserve this time.
The big reason you need it is it will help you to re-focus on your goals. Remember those? When you first started studying Japanese you probably had a rough idea of what you wanted to accomplish with it. Do you remember that? Are you still on track? Are those goals still important to you? Are the study methods you are doing right now still effective for your level? Still interesting for you?
Also, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Giving yourself a little space from the language so that you can dive back into it headlong is really helpful. Usually when I take a trip to the States I’m reminded of why I’m still hanging around Japan. Some of this is for cultural reasons and some of it is for the challenge of going out your front door and finding something new which is always a nice perk of living in a foreign country.
Small Things to Keep Up
You should try to maintain a few things while on break though. One of the big things to keep up in my opinion is vocabulary. Vocabulary just simply takes a lot of time to digest, so keeping up with your SRS drills is probably a good idea. Or, if you are not a big drilling fan, doing some light reading of material that you have already seen before.
In general, you want to keep up the habit, keep doing something every day (if you are currently studying every day), but keep it extremely light and enjoyable. It’s okay if it is not efficient or if it is even ‘good’ study material (e.g. manga or a Japanese video game). The point is to keep it up and in your mind.
My final suggestion would be to try to do a little studying in the morning before the craziness of the day begins. Then it is over and you can go onto enjoy the day and not have to deal with it later. I usually start my day with some vocab work at Memrise and then it is done and I can relax with the fam.
Anyway, however you are celebrating this season, have a good one and enjoy it. Let’s start the year with a bang! How are you going to spend the holidays? Let me know in the comments.