Are You Flexing with Your Flex Time?

Are You Flexing with Your Flex Time?

Malin Just, Falcon Post Staff

Flex time is defined by administration as a time for instructional support, teacher conferencing, or, what we probably all want to use it for, a nice break for students. Let’s take a look at some activities students are doing during their flex time. 

1) Classwork

From a short survey, about 76% of respondents reported spending at least part of their flex time getting ahead on classwork or catching up. I myself am part of this group, but I do have to admit that my eyes hurt by the end of the day and I’m just so ready to go do something else. On that note, if you notice yourself straining your eyes, you can always lower the brightness on your device to make the light a little less intense.

2) Eating 

From the same survey, 62% of respondents reported getting a snack during their flex time. I am also part of this group and my personal favorite is usually some rice cakes or chips. Sometimes I’ll opt for fruit. Aside from my own preferences, getting a snack is a great way to get up from your desk, away from your screen, and move around a little, not to mention the added benefit of recharging with your favorite snack. Maybe you’ll even run into a family member and get to engage in some face-to-face interaction.

3) Listening to some music 

Another great way to cheer up between classes- until you get that one song stuck in your head for the rest of eternity.

4) Socialize

 This one might be difficult if you don’t have siblings or if everyone else is busy or not home. Facetiming friends is great but remember, this time is best spent away from screens. 

5) Chores

    

An excellent use of flex time! It provides you with a break, but you’re still being productive so you won’t feel like you’re wasting time. It is another way to get away from the screens and your family will appreciate it.

6) Getting on your phone

Probably not the best idea but we all have days where we just can’t get around it. Breaks from classes and class work are most effective when they are engaging a different part of your brain. For example, chores or reading but we’ll get into that later.

7) Going for a walk or spending some time outdoors

Another great way to spend your flex time. Fresh air helps oxygenate the brain, allowing you to be more attentive in class. Exercising is even better because it increases the rate at which oxygen cycles through your body and increases blood flow.

8) Napping

I admit that I have napped during flex time before but I do have to say it’s not the best way to spend flex time. It is understandably necessary some days but oftentimes a nap can make you even more tired rather than more awake. If you are feeling tired, I would recommend taking a walk. As hard as it may sound to drag yourself out the door and walk around the block, I can almost guarantee that you will feel better and more awake afterward.

9) Self care

This is excellent if you are doing it correctly. Self care looks different for everyone and I’m not trying to invalidate your practice but in general, I suggest avoiding being mentally inactive. Self care focuses on the self, and therefore your full attention should be on yourself. So not on a movie or social media, not on a video game or a book. That being said, it’s okay to watch a movie or browse social media if you are doing it to let loose and for entertainment, which can also be helpful to some people, but active self care should involve you taking active control of your mental health in whatever form that may be.

10) Reading

Reading is great but there’s a catch. Some of our favorite books are not on our bookshelf so we probably want to read them online somewhere. That’s not bad in itself, but remember, flex time is best when you are off of your screen so avoid reading books online and focus on that book on your shelf waiting for its pages to be turned. 

 

In the short survey conducted, a small handful of students reported having very limited flex time due to teachers taking advantage of it. The students explained that while teachers can’t hold students into flex time, they still felt that they were obligated to stay and participate in small group activities. I have experienced this myself on a few occasions. In order to avoid this, I believe that teachers should be more clear about the student’s options regarding participation in flex time and avoid using flex time for small group activities on a regular basis. 

However you use your flex time, remember what it is designed for and try to embrace yourself and your family, both literally and figuratively. One hug can go a long way in these tough times. Remember, you are worth it and you are capable!