I love holidays. It’s a wonderful feeling to ask, “Siri, please turn off all alarms” and sink into your comfortable mattress and blankets. I used to think that holidays were a waste of time, an unnecessary interruption to more important work. I was so wrong. Holidays are essential. It’s vital that we rejuvenate ourselves and come back to work feeling refreshed and inspired for the term ahead.
But all good things come to an end and here we find ourselves back at the beginning of a new school term. Personally, I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things; there are exciting lessons to be taught and memories to be made with students. I would, however, like to try and preserve that holiday feeling – as much as I can!
Is it at all possible to get to the end of this new term still feeling refreshed and full of energy? You can’t beat sleeping in past 9 am, but there are some things that you can do to preserve that holiday feeling throughout the term. So here are my tips for preserving that holiday feeling.
Be kind to yourself.
This isn’t just some mantra that we should chant at the beginning of each day. We often find time to be kind to others, to our students or to our colleagues, but we easily forget to be kind to ourselves. There are so many little things that you can do for yourself that are vitally replenishing.
Book in that massage, buy those shoes, treat yourself to an energising bushwalk on the weekend, spend time with people that you love. Being kind to yourself looks different for different people, but it simply means doing something that fuels your soul.
Be careful what you commit to
I am a serial over committer – I am sure that I am not alone in this. We all enjoy the feeling of being wanted, needed; it’s human nature to want to be wanted. Over the years I’ve learned that this is just not sustainable. Experience has taught me that I can do most things, but not most things well.
Carefully consider what you say yes to. Even if it seems like an easy thing to add to your responsibilities, or even if it seems fun initially, always ask yourself if it is sustainable over the long haul. You may save yourself many late nights and additional stress by learning to say No.
Sounds obvious, right? The sad reality is I know too many teachers who don’t know how to switch off! Are you one of these people? You’re constantly thinking about your to-do list, the next deadline, the next activity or event. So you come in early and you stay back late. You then take more work home to take care of after dinner or in front of the TV. Oh and of course on weekends you find yourself cramming in extra work too.
You may think you’re being productive and proactive, but you are just burning yourself out! I know I am a better husband, (and soon-to-be father!), a better educator and a better friend when I take the time out to do… well, nothing! I consider down time an investment into myself. Start becoming more disciplined about what time you switch off. Try not to talk (or complain!) about school once you get home. Instead, enjoy cooking a great meal for dinner, play with your kids or sit back with a cup of tea and a damn good book.
Sure there are busy times in the term when everyone is working double time to get everything done. But when you can, prioritise rest and you’ll have more to give when it’s needed most.
So how can you pace yourself during this term? Maybe you can try just one thing this term to preserve that holiday feeling? You never know, you may find a new habit or practice that keeps you feeling replenished all term.