3 Ways to Re-Energize Over the Holiday Break
By Chrissy Romano Arrabito
While scrolling through my social media feed this week I noticed an abundance of memes remarking at how crazy kids can be this time of year. Between the impending holidays and a full moon we are lucky to get through the day not to mention make it to winter break! After laughing out loud at a few of them it hit me that I know exactly what they are talking about.
Truth be told this past week has been brutal. Parent/Teacher conferences, report cards, holiday shopping, Christmas cards, staff meetings, practicing for the holiday assembly, and let’s not forget about actually teaching.
This time of year can be draining both physically and mentally. We are all busy and tired and truly need this break to come sooner rather than later. According to a recent study conducted in the UK at City University, London, researchers found that “time off allows teachers to restore their emotional energy” which is critical to avoid exhaustion and teacher burnout. Many educators think of this break from school as the perfect opportunity to catch up on work. I am here to tell you that if we want to make it all the way to June it’s time for some self care, people!
Here are 3 typical problems teachers encounter at this point in the school year with solutions to help you reboot and get back on track to finish the year strong.
1. Problem: FOMO aka The fear of missing out
Solution: You survived before social media existed so you can disconnect for a week.
Stay off social media, don’t check your email, and cut back on texting. Most of you are probably thinking how impossible that is given how connected most people are these days but you will be surprised how much time you will find to do other things. I was talking with a friend, Toney Jackson, the other day and he told me he takes a break from Facebook for the month of December every year. He said it was amazing how much time fb sucks from your life but you don’t even realize it until you give it up. Use the time to binge watch your favorite series or pick up a book you haven’t had time to read since you have been doing lesson plans and grading papers every night for the last four months.
Spend some quality time with your family and friends. Ok, maybe not the family – you probably had enough of them at this point in the holiday season. This is the time to kick back, relax, and connect with those you have been too busy for since school started in September.
2.Problem: Educators are caretakers by nature.
Solution: Do something for yourself.
Educators tend to be natural caretakers. We are nurturers. Women are the worst when it comes to taking time for themselves. We are so busy with our many roles as mom, wife, daughter, friend, etc. that quite often we put everyone else first. Everyone including school comes before they do! We must make a concerted effort to do the things that give us joy and renew our energy.
So with this in mind, go get that well deserved mani-pedi or massage. Sleep in, stay in your PJs all day or send the kids to their grandparents for a night for such much needed alone time. For me, it’s going to the gym. Working out clears my mind, energizes me, and gives me the strength both literally and figuratively to handle just about anything that comes my way. My husband, a middle school math teacher, goes fishing to reboot and bring some sanity back into his life. You can easily find him on a lake in the spring or summer or in the middle of the Atlantic in the dead of winter. Doesn’t matter the time of year as long as he is one with nature it makes everything alright.
Whatever it is that you enjoy doing make a point to do it over this holiday break. Most importantly, do not pick up that stack of papers I know you brought home!
3.Problem: You are so burned out right now you don’t know how you will make it to the end of the school year.
Solution: Decide to make the rest of the year a great one by setting an achievable goal.
I know that sounds corny but let’s be honest. We spend so much time teaching our kids about goal setting, perseverance and growth mindset isn’t it about time we start walking the walk instead of just talking the talk? Choose ONE thing that you will focus on for the remainder of the school year. Maybe it is something you learned about, read about, or have been wanting to try and just haven’t gotten around to it. Set that as your goal and make some time over the holiday break to plan how you will put it into action.
The goal I set for myself is to finally put the SeeSaw platform to use with my 3rd graders. I have heard so much about SeeSaw and its many uses from Justin Schleider, Ross Cooper, and most recently from a lengthy discussion in the #satchat Voxer group. I already scheduled time on my Google calendar to watch the tutorials and play around with it so that I will be ready to introduce SeeSaw to my students when we return in January.
How will you spend your holiday break? Grading papers, doing lesson plans, or doing a little something for yourself so you can get off to strong start in 2017.
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