“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey
I am not very good at resting. For me, there’s always something that needs to be done, even on my days off! Cleaning the house, shopping for supplies, getting the car repaired, making a head-start on next weeks’ assignments, the list just keeps going. There are times it literally takes effort for me to sit down and watch something on Netflix. I’ve run myself ragged more than once, but this year has been especially bad.
The last few months have been grueling for educators. We had to transition to distance learning practically overnight. We somehow shepherded students through their final semester while living through a worldwide pandemic, and now our plans for the Fall need to be readjusted. There’s so much to do that for a while, I thought I couldn’t afford to take a day off. How could I justify lying around when there was still so much work to be done?
Thankfully, some peers showed me that the time I spent on myself wasn’t wasted. I needed to rest, clear my mind, and let go of all the stress I was carrying. Not only did it help me stay mentally and physically healthy, but it allowed me to come back with renewed energy. Maybe you’re like me, and you have trouble shutting down when you need to. If that’s the case, let me encourage you to rest, recover, and recharge with help from these five strategies!
Take Time to Reflect
Summer is the perfect time to sit back and reflect on the school year. The best way to start is by talking with other teachers. After all, if anyone knows the tough job you do every day, it’s other teachers. Take a moment to call up a colleague and ask how the year went. Make goals with them and map out the school year to celebrate success while identifying areas of improvement.
Additionally, you could start a reflection journal to record useful information, save ideas, and keep track of your professional growth.
Do a Digital Detox
There’s something refreshing about stepping away from social media for a day. Many of us are so plugged in we lose sight of how much time we actually spend online. Instead of scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, choose a day to put down your screen and rediscover something you love. Solve a puzzle or read a good book. Better yet, head outdoors. Take the day to walk a nature trail or reunite with friends in a park (at a safe distance).
We’ve spent so much time cloistered these past several months that it’s important to get outside and play!
Nourish Your Whole Self
For teachers, most self-improvement can be divided into four compartments: professional development, school prep, self-care, and personal growth.
- Professional Development – This summer, remember to give yourself grace. There’s so much happening right now that it’s going to take time to find your balance. Focus on completing one thing and you’ll find your way.
- School Prep – Plan to stay connected. Take a couple hours every week to focus on your curriculum and share it with your coworkers.
- Personal Growth – Don’t mistake professional growth for personal growth. Step outside your role as a teacher and work on your own goals and aspirations.
- Self-Care – As a teacher, you are constantly giving of yourself to your students, family, or community. Give yourself ten minutes each day to devote to whatever you like. Meditate, make cookies, or simply do something small that you enjoy.
Revamp Your Summer Routine
This strategy is a bit deceptive because it’s actually about slowing things down. Give yourself permission to sleep in a little and take your time getting prepared in the morning. Enjoy a cup of coffee in bed while reading the day’s newspaper. Lying in bed and pondering how you want your day to go can be very therapeutic, and it allows you to approach each morning calmly rather than in a mad dash. Above all, it ensures your getting the rest you need.
Celebrate Your Success
This last one is probably the most difficult of the five. I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically celebrate success. Once a project is finished it’s on to the next project no pomp or ceremony required. This summer celebrate your successes by indulging in small rewards. Have a slice of cake after finishing a big task. Do a little impulse shopping online or treat yourself to a nice souvenir.
Give yourself credit for what you’ve achieved and remember to be proud of your accomplishments. Don’t forget to thank the people who supported you too!
I hope these strategies help you find moments of rest this summer. I know it’s easy to fixate on the fall but living in a state of worry won’t solve anything. So instead, take a moment to appreciate everything you’ve done this year. Spring was filled with impossible challenges, but you still triumphed. You’ve worked like a champion and now it’s time to rest like one. So, get outside and enjoy that summer day!
We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. Check out our full webinar and more by visiting our videos page. For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote healthy SEL, simply follow this link!