The Summer season may be here but there’s no rest for the weary. Right now, educators everywhere are using these months to prepare for the next school year. This means attending STEAM-focused conferences, working through comprehensive PD, seeking out the latest strategies, articles, and resources in teaching, and so much more. These pursuits are very noble, and sometime even essential, but they often come at a cost. Teachers aren’t taking the time they need to rest.

The red flags of rest are pretty easy to spot. Tired educators often feel drained of energy and creativity while the quality of their work begins to slip. The difficult truth of the matter is that when a person gives 100% of themselves to anything, they keep nothing in reserve, and this leaves them empty of passion, ingenuity, and motivation. No matter how busy the summer gets, teachers still need to set aside time for recovery and refreshment. But what does that even look like?

True rest is different for everyone, but if you’re an educator who has trouble shutting down during the summer months, here are few things you can do to stop, relax, and recover during the day:

  • The Digital Detox: There’s something refreshing about stepping away from social media for a day. Many of us are so plugged in we lose sight of how much time we actually spend online. Instead of scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, choose a day to put down your screen and rediscover something you love. Solve a puzzle or read a good book. Better yet, head outdoors. If you want to connect with others, try sending them a physical letter, or spend time in-person for a change.
  • Relax Your Summer Routine: A solid routine can be helpful for dealing with day-to-day tasks, but sometimes it’s best to dial things back. Give yourself permission to sleep in a little and take your time getting prepared in the morning. Enjoy a cup of coffee while reading the day’s news. Take an hour to ponder how you want your day to go – it can be very therapeutic! This also allows you to approach each morning calmly rather than in a mad dash. Above all, it ensures you’re getting the rest you need.
  • Stay Healthy: An active lifestyle really does contribute to overall wellness. Start small. Schedule 15 minutes in your day where you’ll hike, bike, stretch, anything that gets your blood flowing. Remember to eat right as well. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Start by replacing one processed grain with a whole grain, adding one salad a day, or cutting out caffeine after 4 p.m. By keeping it manageable and scheduling it regularly, you’ll make every day more energetic!
  • Remember Your Wins: Sometimes we focus so much on what needs to be done that we forget to appreciate what we’ve achieved. Take a moment to celebrate all that you managed to accomplish this year, and top things off with a special reward. Maybe buy yourself a piece of cake, frame a fun photo of your class from that year, do whatever you need to feel rewarded. You deserve it!

Van Andel Institute for Education hopes that everyone is having a restful and enjoyable summer vacation. Teachers and educators have given so much in the past year, and we encourage them to treat themselves to the best self-care this summer. Be sure to check out our latest free tools and resources for K-12 educators. We want to do the heavy lifting so you can focus on what matters most – teaching!

*Image courtesy of Alvesgaspar via Wikimedia commons.  
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