Summer relaxation tips from the Bloomsbury Education team (includes cake, gin, dancing and…biscuits!)

So, you’ve made it through the school year, you’re still standing, and you’re planning on returning to the classroom in the autumn (at least we presume you are if you’re reading this blog). Well done!

At Bloomsbury Education we know how hard teachers work, and so we’ve put our heads together to share nine tips that we use that we hope will help you relax this summer.

1376334_10100750573741613_1317165519_n1. Emily K – Cycling
One of my favourite ways to relax is to cycle. I love planning routes in the countryside (I lie, my husband plans them) and going out with friends. You have to get the balance right though. It might be fun to pretend you’re a pro cyclist and throw in a challenging hill or two, but there absolutely must be either a pub lunch or coffee and cake involved. Exploring new and beautiful places and catching up with friends is a great way to switch off.

IMG_25772. Helen – Gardening (and gin)

For me, it’s a spot of gardening accompanied by a delicious gin and tonic made with elderflower cordial! Add the cordial to the gin, pop in some ice and mint, and then top up with tonic. Perfect for that end of day, relaxing in the garden moment…

3. The Music Team (A.K.A. Rachel, Flora, Milly and Philippa) – Listen to some classical music

The summer is Proms season; so get involved with the world’s largest classical music festival. Whether or not you can make an event at London’s Royal Albert Hall, you can listen on the wireless or watch on TV. From Bollywood and Bhangra to Sondheim and Schoenberg, there will be something to transport you away from the day to day. Our music team picks include: The John Wilson Orchestra performing Frank Sinatra; Evelyn Glennie alongside pianist Philip Smith; Bryn Terfel in Fiddler on the Roof, and Monteverdi’s Orfeo under John Eliot Gardiner. Enjoy!

228548_10151046309988722_1220889285_n4. Emily L – Climbing
How about trying a new sport or going a bit out of your comfort zone – I go climbing at an indoor bouldering centre. It’s a good way to switch off, it’s surprisingly energising and it’s good exercise. Plus it’s a good way to take out your energy in a friendly competition with the other climbers/willing housemates.

5. Holly – Dancing
One thing that I do when I want to relax is YouTube music video dance routines and learn them! It is a great bit of exercise, you get a real feeling of achievement when you have learnt it, and you are concentrating so hard on learning the steps that you forget about any work worries you may have previously been fretting about.

My favourite is Beyoncé Single Ladies:

Make sure you close your sitting room curtains before making a start if you get stage fright!

fox6. Rhiannon – Painting
I relax by painting as many woodland creatures as I can – painting pictures of them, as opposed to running after squirrels with a paintbrush.

Turn on some chilled music, put on some slacks and get creative! And if you need to vent your frustration, grab a huge sheet of canvas, go outside on a sunny day and flick paint EVERYWHERE. Cathartic. (And your neighbour’s fence definitely needed brightening up.)

Claire running7. Claire – Running
One thing that relaxes me without failure is running! There’s nothing like ‘pounding the pavement’ to empty the head and unwind. Dodging through the sea of the London workers crossing Waterloo Bridge can be a bit stressful, but it just gives you a reason to run even faster. AND you get to eat cake afterwards and not feel guilty. It’s a win-win situation.

Warning, running in the rain can make your face look like this. BUT you do get to buy some pretty amazing shoes!

8. Hannah – Baking
One thing I like to do when I need to relax is a spot of baking. Here is a recipe for old-fashioned ginger biscuits.

• 1 lb / 450 g plain flour
• 5 oz / 140 g butter
• 8 oz / 225 g black treacle
• 8 oz / 225 g sugar
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 2 oz chopped crystallised or stem ginger
• 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• 1 egg

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees / gas mark 4. Sieve the flour, ground ginger, and bicarbonate of soda together. Rub the fat into the flour, and then mix in the sugar. Add the treacle, stem or crystallised ginger, and the egg and mix everything together.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and blob desert spoon sized lumps of mixture onto it. Bake for 10 -15 mins, and dig in!

FullSizeRender9. Isobel – Reading
We’re all bookworms here (as you’d expect those working at a publishing house to be), therefore my ‘tip’ to help you relax is READ A BOOK, or two or three…

Immersing yourself in a good book is a fantastic way to switch off. You’re temporarily transported to another world, and consumed with the lives of the characters, which is a great way to forget about the stress of your own.

If you’re in need of some suggestions, I have just finished Stephan Kelman’s thought-provoking second novel, Man on Fire, and Ali Smith’s weird, but wonderfully witty How to Be Both. These two novels are completely different, but both fab! I am about to begin Harper Lee’s globally anticipated Go Set A Watchman, and am hoping (praying) that it will live up to the magnificence of To Kill a Mockingbird. (If that’s even possible – I will report at a later date…)

So there you have it, nine wonderful suggestions to help you wind down this summer, and surface refreshed and raring to go when September rolls around. Enjoy!

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