I’m a creature of habit.
My days follow an almost unchangeable routine.
My friends and family know exactly all of my little quirks. I always order the same pizza, the same drinks, the same ice cream.
Habits are one of my coping strategies against anxiety. Knowing what’s happening next makes me feel safe. Always picking the same dish avoids me the overwhelm of choosing.
Some might say I’m not an adventurous person, and that’s OK.
It’s alright until I get to the point when I reject all changes. I try to keep a healthy balance between my cosy, safe habits, and some novelty.
From time to time, though, I slip into a stubborn shutdown. “Yes, but…” becomes my default mode.
“You’ve been working a lot, you should go for a walk” “Yes, but…”
“You always order margherita pizza, but capricciosa is good, too!” “Yes, but…”
“Try this silly series if you’re feeling down.” “Yes, but…”
And so on.
When I finally realise I’m going that way, I gently push myself to do one small new thing. It can be as small as trying colouring books when I feel caught up with stress, or watching a show someone recommended me.
Because I know that I need some new things to keep my creativity go. I need new eyes to find my way around a problem. I need new inspiration to fuel my work and my language learning.
Looking for inspiration
I hold tight to my habits in language learning, too.
For my Swedish learning routine, I rely on a few tools:
- Rivstart textbook: a balanced mix of vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening, writing and speaking;
- Form i fokus textbook: for thorough grammar explanations and extra exercises (because I’m a proud grammar geek);
- SFI Podd for listening practice and to increase my vocabulary;
- Weekly lessons with an online teacher for a chance to speak, get guidance and motivation and clarifications on the tricky stuff I don’t find in textbooks;
- Instagram #languagediarychallenge for writing practice and community;
- One app for short sessions when I don’t have lots of time.
I’m happy with this routine and having a fixed set of resources helps me avoid overwhelm.
This doesn’t mean I don’t experience anything new, though. For example, I switch the app I use from time to time, ah! 😀
But the main source of novelty is human interaction.
The sessions with my teacher, of course, are always something new. Every conversation with another human being gives you something new if you let it.
And on Instagram I meet new learners every month, discover new stories, feel in awe of all these people who progress and struggle and share it all with others, joined by a love for learning.
So for me, as an introvert, the community is the biggest source of newness. Because interaction often drains me, when I decide to interact I do it wholeheartedly.
Of course, you can find fresh experiences on your own, too. Me-time is the comfortable time par excellence, but you can still add a bit of a twist to it.
My latest addition (and addiction) is yoga.
I’ve always been the laziest couch potato you can think of. Suddenly I get to experience the benefits of physical exercise on my brain, on my emotions and on my body.
A miracle, or what?
Truth is, most of the positive changes in my life come from… a little push from the outside.
So I cook balanced healthy meals and eat my veggies because I promised my boyfriend to do so.
I started going on walks because a friend made playlists for me that I could listen to only if I was outside.
I tried yoga because another friend told me a million times how good it would be for me.
Yep, I’m stubborn, but I learnt my lesson and I try to listen to the advice of people who care for me a bit more often.
Alright, you’re wondering, but what about language learning?
Well, in language learning, too, I look for healthy, balanced and feel-good strategies I can adopt from other learners and teachers.
Language Learning Summit: a place for inspiration
Language Learning Summit is a celebration of all things language that will happen from the 11th to 24th February.
And it happens online so you know… you can attend in your pyjama.
You can watch presentations by more than 50 polyglots, teachers, learners and enthusiasts. For the most adventurous, you can virtually meet others during networking events, find a language partner or maybe a new friend.
There will be live talks and language practice groups, interviews and expert panels.
So if you weren’t sure where to find new perspectives and ideas, well… this is a good start.
I’m looking forward to this event and I hope you’ll be able to join, too. I can’t wait to hear the talks by wonderful language teachers and learners such as Danae from Alpha Beta Greek, Kamila from Polyglot’s Diary and Angel from French Fluency, and so many more.
Ahem… yes, there will be a talk from yours truly, too.
It’s about strategies to avoid overwhelm in language learning and getting the topic out there is worth the anxiety I went through while recording it.
If you ever felt like language learning was filling you with stress and worries I wrote this talk thinking about you.
My goal with this is, first and foremost, to let you know you’re not alone.
Yes, we are quiet language learners, but we don’t need to be silent anymore. We don’t only succeed every time but we also struggle, so what? The time has come to accept this is normal, everyone does and who tells you they don’t is hiding part of the big picture.
And with every struggle comes a possible solution, because we don’t just rant and complain without fighting back, right?
I’m looking forward to your feedback, to hear what was helpful and what can be improved, too.
So, to the practical bit.
Registration to the event is 17$, but you can use the code “celebratelanguages” at checkout to have 15$ off.
This makes it 2$ for a 2-weeks event – not bad uh.
For lifelong access to the 50+ talks, you can get a Premium Pass for 37$.
So if you’re busy and can’t make it, or if you want to rewatch your favourites, you can still enjoy Language Learning Summit.
I hope you’ll make it!
Please do get in touch to have a chat about your favourite presentations, share ideas and inspiration from the summit. You can tweet my way and use the official hashtag #LangSummit, or you can join the quiet language learners’ nest on Facebook.
See you at the summit!
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