Most summers, educators take their well-deserved time off to enroll in professional development and continue to learn and grow their practice for the upcoming school year. This year, however, we’re advocating that teachers take a real break to relax, recharge and give themselves the space to clear their minds.
Here are some ways to fuel your self-care routine this summer and make sure you are prioritizing your own wellness.
- 1Unplug. Take a day (or two or three!) to go off the grid. Log out of your social media accounts, turn off email notifications, or even put your phone in airplane mode. Take some time to step away from messages and reminders and focus on yourself.
- 2Go outside. Even if you don’t have a big beach vacation planned, you can still enjoy the sun and fresh air by going on a daily walk, reading a book or magazine in your backyard or laying out in the grass and watching the clouds. Studies show that sunlight greatly improves your mental health, so soak up as much of it as you can! (But don’t forget that sunscreen!)
- 3Explore your hobbies. Summer is the perfect time to focus on the things you love to do. Crack open those books you didn’t have time to read during the school year, or get back into your workshop and build that birdhouse you planned. Whether it’s cooking, hiking or playing ultimate frisbee, take time to do the things that make you happy.
- 4Reconnect with friends and family. This past year and a half has been a tough time to maintain relationships and stay connected with your support system. Use this summer as an opportunity to see people you haven’t visited in a while, or even join new groups online or in your community to meet people that share your interests or struggles.
- 5Be kind to yourself. The most important thing you can do this summer is to help yourself. The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families offers some great advice for dealing with anxiety and self-doubt. “If a friend was upset, you wouldn’t want them to beat themselves up over it. The same applies when you are upset. Try treating yourself differently, offering kindness to yourself.” Try not to compare yourself to others, and remind yourself that your best is enough.
Even if you still feel like you need to spend the summer preparing for the new school year, remember that self-care is an important part of that preparation. If you are exhausted, mentally drained, and overwhelmed, you can’t give your best to your students. Make sure to advocate for your own wellness, and put your best foot forward in the fall!