Seven Summer Tips for Teachers during the Break
The final bell rings. Your students eagerly make their way to their bus, the parent pickup line or their cars. You wish them a great and happy summer as you say your goodbyes. It’s been about 180 days since the first day of school and it still feels like yesterday when you welcomed them into your room and life. As you glance around your room one last time, you stare at the empty seats and realize how quiet it is, even quieter than all the other afternoons after a long school day. Before you walk out, you turn around to look at your packed up classroom ready and waiting for the new year to start. You turn off the lights, shut your door, and as you lock it, you smile to yourself realizing that it’s summer break and it’s your time to decompress after a hard and exhausting year.
But how will you fill your days of not being in the classroom? What can you do to focus on you and your well-being?
E-Therapy has seven summer THERAPY tips that teachers, educators, administrators, support staff members, counselors, social workers and aides should consider integrating into their daily summer schedules and even once the new school year officially starts.
Travel Near or Far
Summer is the best time to plan those vacations, whether it’s to see family or friends who live out of town, visit popular tourist destinations, camp on the warm sandy beach or in the cool breezy mountains, or sit poolside at a nearby resort or hotel. This time away from home is important because it takes away some of the pressure you might feel to work on home projects or lesson planning. Also, a vacation now is a good way to not stress about taking multiple school days off during the school year and creating sub plans for those days.
Hobbies New and Old
Many of you have hobbies you sometimes aren’t able to focus on during the school year, but during school breaks, especially summer break, many of you can get back to growing those passions. Do you have a passion for hiking, golfing or playing tennis? Do you love to cook, bake or garden? Are you more of a DIYer and enjoy home and yard projects or fixing cars? Or do you want to hone in on a craft and play in a band, learn to paint, draw, woodwork, or knit or crochet scarves, hats, or blankets. No matter your hobby or your new hobby, set aside time this summer to incorporate it into your routine at least once a week, if not more, and continue to focus on those hobbies once the school year starts because the calmness and relaxation you feel when you’re practicing your hobby will transfer into your classroom.
Exercise Your Body and Your Mind
Being a teacher can be very fulfilling for many, but it also can be very stressful and exhausting. One way to decompress from the newly ended school year and prepare for the next is with exercise. Whether you’re running, swimming, walking, playing a sport, practicing yoga, weight lifting, or dancing you’re bound to see the benefits. According to mayoclinic.org there are multiple reasons – boosting energy, improving mood, promoting better sleep, combating health conditions and controlling weight – to start incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. Research shows that for some it can take just over two months for a behavior to become routine. With that being said, there is no time like this summer to get your body moving.
While many of you don’t want to think about work, at least not for a few weeks after you’ve locked your classroom door for the last time this school year, many of you know you need to continue growing in your career and as an educator. You also know that the most convenient time to sign up for professional development (PD) classes or workshops, or attend a conference is during summer break because you can really take advantage and focus on what you’re learning from those training sessions. You might even consider taking steps to furthering your education by enrolling in a master’s or doctorate degree program or earning additional certifications.
Read for pleasure
Summer time also is a time for curling up with a good book. However, try not to focus just on the educational literature that your teacher friends may have recommended. Choose several titles that make your heart smile. Ones that you have been wanting to read for the last nine months or so. If you don’t know some good reads, look to your friends and family for suggestions. Find your comfy chair or couch and escape into another world.
Aim to Reflect
For many of you, you can’t escape being a “teacher” even when you are on a school break. During the summer, you continue to work. Maybe you are reflecting on what you learned this past year, rewriting or reworking your curriculum, updating icebreakers for your students, planning to implement what you learned this summer from PD courses, or researching ideas for new lesson plans and teaching methods. With that being said, take your time when you set out to tackle these goals. You get to decide when and where you do your work.
A lot of times during the school year, teachers have to say no to social outings, especially if they are invited out on a “school” night. But this summer, make it a point to say yes to those invites. Meet up with a friend or friends for coffee, breakfast, lunch, drinks or maybe even dinner. Plan a day window shopping or at the zoo, beach, or local pool. When out with a teacher friend, don’t talk about school. Make it a point to learn more about each other’s likes and dislikes that aren’t related to work. You will have plenty of time to reflect on your school days to talk about lessons and classroom management and what you can do differently next time to make it better.
Yes to Relaxation
For many of you, you are about a month into your summer break, but you still need to take time for yourself and relax. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to get away, do it now, even if you just plan a short staycation. Not your idea of relaxing? Head to your go-to streaming platform and binge watch your favorite shows or newly recommended ones. No shame in spending hours on the couch forgetting about your current reality. TV not your thing? Maybe you feel the most relaxed when you’re folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen or tackling all those household projects on your to-do list. Or maybe spending time with your kids is your self-care. No matter what you do to relax, you need to remember that when it’s summertime, it’s okay to slow down.
At E-Therapy, we understand that it might be hard to include all of these summer tips into your daily or weekly routines, but if you can embrace at least one, your mind and body will thank you for it.
If you don’t know where to begin your journey to self-care, take your first step now and visit our eCALM room. There, you’ll find four, 10-minute mindfulness videos that focus on different techniques – learning how to breathe and find joy, identifying body tension, being present and finding their inner calm, and learning to become self aware and being kind – to bring peace and well-being into your life.