This week, ClassMax will be sharing a series called, “Summer Like a Teacher,” where we cover the three key parts of a teacher’s summer: Relaxing, Refreshing, and Renewing. Today, we begin with everyone’s favorite – relaxing.
I don’t know about you, but the first week of summer vacation is always hard for me as a teacher. I’m still used to the rush and gush of the end of the school year, so my mind and body doesn’t really know what to do when it all of a sudden hits a wall of relaxation. I usually hit several emotional stages when I try to relax on summer vacation:
- Guilt – I should be doing something. I could be doing something. I need to be doing something. Anyone else have those thoughts on repeat when they try to relax?
- Laziness – When I finally get over the guilt, I do a complete 180 and become the laziest creature on the face of the planet. I sit in my pajamas for days, binging on Netflix, and letting my own kids have way too much screen time so that I can continue MY binge of too much screen time.
- Redemption – After a few days of laziness, I wake up one morning completely angry at myself for wasting my summer away. This is usually the point when I commit to exercising until I can’t breathe, eating only kale, and cleaning out the closet in my guest room that hasn’t been cleaned out since this time LAST summer.
- Laziness #2 – After a binge of redemption, I go back to laziness because I have used up all my energy for the foreseeable future.
- Guilt #2 – This laziness leads to guilt again.
And so the cycle continues. Is this just me? Tell me I am not alone in this! But this summer, I am committing to a better, healthier cycle of relaxation. One that doesn’t burn me out and make me feel terrible. In case I am not the only one out there with this issue, I thought I would share a few tips I am using myself to make my summer more relaxing:
Schedule a Vacation
Now, we all live on teacher’s salaries, so don’t panic that I’m encouraging us to all take extreme European vacations here. But in summers past, I have found that the earlier in the summer I take a vacation away, the quicker I am able to relax into my summer. It’s like a buffer between my working days and my home days. It’s much easier for me to relax when I am away from home than when I am just shuffling around my house, looking for stuff to do. And vacations don’t have to be elaborate. A visit to my sister’s in Atlanta is a seven hour car ride and a free stay! Even a staycation in my own city of Orlando can be nice. It’s easy to find summer deals for residents at a lot of major hotel chains, and a two night stay with a pool and someone to make my bed can do wonders for me.
Read a Book
And the book better have NOTHING TO DO WITH SCHOOL, teacher friend. No PD books to get ahead of the school year, no YA books to stay connected to your students, and no teacher themed novels that make you feel all “Dangerous Minds”-y. Get yourself some real, adult fiction and get lost for a while. I tend to lean towards easier, predictable plot lines in the summers from authors like Emily Giffin or Nicholas Sparks. Although, sometimes I still have a hard time relaxing when the plots are a little too simple and then I switch over to thriller and spy novels from Tom Clancy and John le Carre. Whatever your genre of choice, dig in to something NON-academic and lose yourself for a while.
Go to Bed Early and TAKE A NAP, FOR GOODNESS’S SAKES!
While it is tempting to stay up late binging out on Netflix just because you can (I just discovered Suits and I’m slightly obsessed!), keeping a fairly routine sleep schedule can help you unwinder faster and more completely. And if you do decide to burn the midnight oil in a completely unproductive, restful way, don’t underestimate the importance of a good 3pm nap. During the school year, and especially towards the end, we run our bodies ragged. Use the beginning of summer to allow your body time to catch up on that much-needed rest you missed in May.
Whether it’s a summertime pedicure or a lunch on a random weekday with a girlfriend, find ways to treat yourself. Not necessarily to anything extravagant, but to those little things that teachers miss out on during the school year. Sleep in, have a two-hour lunch, lay in the sunshine in the middle of the afternoon, or even listen to that playlist that doesn’t have anything to do with pirates, animal friends, or KidzBop. Stop for an ice cream cone in a drive thru, just because. Take a bubble bath in the middle of the afternoon. Go without make up. Ditch the cardigans. LIVE IT UP, TEACHER FRIENDS!
We work hard during the school year and it is easy to feel sometimes like we should be productive ALL the time. But the truth is that giving yourself permission to relax will make you a better teacher in August. You will go back to school feeling relaxed, fresh faced, and ready for another year!
Join us later this week as we tackle the next key part of a teacher’s summer… refreshing!