My prescription for half-term? Cake and gin

Planning to be productive this half-term? Think again, says Louise Lewis – you won't be off again until Christmas

Louise Lewis

Coronavirus and schools: Exhausted teachers need to make the most of this half-term break - with gin and cake, says Louise Lewis

Welcome to half-term – one that we can all say has been well and truly earned

So, what is on the to-do list for the next week? Marking? Planning? Catching up with household admin? Finally making that dentist’s appointment? 

Stop there! This can all wait. This week, colleagues, is your week. A week to unwind, to relax, to let the stresses of the term drift away, to spend some time actually being you. You deserve it.

Let me give you some professional advice. No, scrap that: professional direction. This should not be taken lightly; half-term is no joke. What you do this week will serve you right up until Christmas, so you need to do it right. 

With the week stretching before you, you need to make sure that you use this time wisely. It should be used to fully recharge your batteries. And, as all teachers know, the single best way to achieve this is through the medicinal powers of calories and gin.

Teacher wellbeing: The medicinal powers of cake

I advocate at least two whole slabs of cake. So let’s see which are best for you.

Chocolate cake: always a favourite. Excellent remedy for a weary soul. One slice to be taken twice daily.

Carrot cake: should be taken with a warm beverage, such as a pot of tea. To be taken at breakfast time, to awaken the mind. 

Lemon-drizzle cake: must only be taken when binge-watching a series on TV. Eat directly from the packet. 

Red-velvet cake: should all other treatments fail, two slices to be consumed concurrently. Will reduce symptoms of lethargy, apathy and general downbeatedness.

Your cake should be deeply inhaled at all opportunities. But, while it will serve to alleviate the symptoms brought on by a manic term like no other, it will not suffice alone. Therefore, you should throw in a few other accessories, for good measure.

The accoutrements of relaxation

The sofa is a good place to start. Ensure that you are reclined, propped up by a wealth of cushions, enveloped in the comforting softness of your favourite blanket, with the remote control at hand. 

Next, gin, obviously. Don’t listen to the negativity: “You’re still in your pyjamas.” We all know that you’re going to be in your pyjamas until at least 3pm. Assuming you ever change out of them. Besides, it’s happy hour somewhere on the planet. And, frankly, at this point in the year, it would be negligent not to partake in the soothing properties of a rhubarb gin and Mediterranean tonic

Alternatively, it is acceptable to compromise during half-term. So, if you are bucking the teacher trend, and wine is your thing, a full-bodied Merlot is a perfectly acceptable alternative. 

Finally, as you while away the days, it is imperative that you enjoy the velvety smoothness of your favourite chocolate. Its holistic benefits are widely known, from satisfying a nagging sweet tooth, to placating a hungry tummy. For this half-term, though, let it ease the strain on your vocal cords, and fulfil your need for comfort. 

Repeat as necessary throughout the week. Preferably daily. 

Following this sage advice should see you cured of your half-term ills, so that you emerge feeling rejuvenated and recharged, ready to face whatever education – and the government – wants to throw your way. 

You’ve got this. You always do. 

Louise Lewis is a research lead and deputy head of science in a Yorkshire secondary school. She tweets @MissLLewis 

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