Teachers, think back to May when it was the last day of school. You said goodbye to your students, cleaned up your room, checked out with your principal, and headed home to enjoy your summer. But before you left the building, you also packed up your car with teacher manuals to study, educational books to read, and lessons to rework. No worries—that’s what we all do. The summer is a great time to get a jumpstart on the next school year. However, I would urge you to do more than work this summer. Take the summer to care for yourself, nurture your personal interests, and relax.
Each summer, I declare it to be my summer of self-care—often to the annoyance of my husband. This doesn’t mean that I neglect my family, home, or work. Instead, I use the summertime to recharge so I’m a better mother, wife, and teacher.
Let me share with you how I’m caring for myself this summer:
- I am reacquainting myself with the gym. This summer, I started attending a new gym and purchased a few sessions with a personal trainer. I’m trying to get into a good exercise routine that is sustainable during the school year. My trainer has been helping me put together a great plan, and his involvement also keeps me motivated. Meanwhile, I’ve also been trying to walk, swim, and do yoga—all exercises that are relaxing and enjoyable to me.
- I am working with a wellness coach. You all know how crazy the months of April and May are for a teacher. We scarf down lunch at our desks and chug caffeine to keep going. These aren’t exactly our healthiest months, so I’m using a wellness coach (free through my insurance plan!) to help me create diet and exercise goals that I can sustain throughout the school year. We meet every few weeks, check in on my goals, and then re-evaluate. This is a great way for me to stay on track.
- I am doing the things I love. I am having coffee with friends. I’m going on long walks. I’m catching up on some TV shows I missed during the busyness of the school year. I’m watching movies with my family. And most of all, I’m reading a ton. Reading is a hobby that relaxes me, fills me up, and gives me ideas for the next school year. Summer is a great time to revisit hobbies that sometimes get neglected between August and May.
- I am spending quality time with my family. We all know the end of school is crazy, so summer is a perfect time to be with my family. So far this summer, we’ve been to the movies, the arboretum, the zoo, and have just hung out together at home. I’ve been able to have meals with my family, and we’ve exercised and run errands together. Time with my family is the best part about being home during the summer.
- I am spending time outside. I love to be outdoors when the weather is nice. In the summer, I hang out at the pool, go to parks, sit on the patio, and read in my hammock. During the school year, I feel a little cooped up being inside all day, so I try to get all the vitamin D I can in the summer by spending time outside.
- I’m allowing myself to be bored. We always say that kids should be bored to have time to just think and be creative. I’m doing the same for myself—letting myself have some time without worrying about projects or to-do lists or productivity. I’m lounging in my hammock or sitting at the pool and just thinking. It’s a wonderful gift to myself to have nothing I have to do.
- I am sleeping. I know, people say you can’t catch up on your sleep, but I disagree. I sleep in. I nap. I make sure to feel well-rested all summer long. I plan vacations where I can lie on a beach and read and doze. Summer is an amazing time of rest and restoration, and good sleep is a big part of this.
- Finally, I am taking time to write. Writing is cathartic to me, and I have lots of time to write during the summer—and not just for work. One of my favorite summer pastimes is to go to my neighborhood coffee shop, pull out my laptop, and begin writing. I am able to work on pieces that I start, but don’t finish, during the school year.
Teachers, go ahead and do a little work this summer, but don’t forget that it’s also a great time for self-care. Do the things you love, relax, spend time with friends and family, and prepare your mind and body for the upcoming school year. You will be glad you spent some time taking care of you!
How do you relax over the summer? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re looking for some professional care to keep up the learning in between your self-care sessions, consider checking out one of our Quick Learn sessions!