I’m a big fan of the show Parks and Recreation and one of my favorite episodes is when the characters Tom and Donna decide to “Treat Themselves”. For those of you who haven’t seen it, once a year these two take a day to simply treat themselves. They buy expensive cloths they’ll rarely wear. Splurge on cupcakes and other sweets. The expense doesn’t matter, neither does the practicality, they simply do whatever brings them joy.

Personally, I think there’s something to be said about this tradition – especially if you’re a teacher. It seems like there’s never enough time in the week to accomplish everything that needs doing. Educators are constantly racing from one task to another, and even during the summer, the pace doesn’t slow. There are lessons to plan, supplies to order, PD to attend, as well as new policies to review. It’s enough to leave even the most determined teacher feeling burnt out!

Just One Day

Rest is important. When we give 100% of ourselves to anything, we have nothing left for everything else, including ourselves! So this summer, lets all take a page from the Parks and Rec playbook and take one day to treat ourselves. Pick a day on your upcoming calendar and spend some time doing things that give you energy. Here are just a few suggestions to help you get started:

  • Meditation: Meditation has been known to reduce stress and help practitioners clear their thoughts, but there are also dozens of studies documenting other less-known mindfulness meditation benefits, which can have a positive impact on mental, physical, and emotional health. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, take 15-20 minutes to meditate to refresh your thought process.
  • Spend Time Outdoors: Don’t underestimate the healing power of nature. Spending time at parks, forests, rivers, or oceans can do wonders for our physical and mental health. Some research has even found that spending time in nature improves working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attentional control. So take a day trip to the beach or pay a visit your local botanical garden. Relish the peace that nature provides and soak up a little sunlight while you’re at it.
  • Have a Good Meal: There’s nothing like indulging in your favorite food. If you’re going to treat yourself, why not include a little snack? Fix yourself your favorite food or take a meal at a restaurant you love. If you’re feeling adventurous you could always try out a new restaurant and let yourself enjoy thrill of something unfamiliar. Just remember to enjoy your meal – Bon Appétit!
  • Learn Something New: As educators, we know better than anyone how fun learning can be. Why not take some time and treat ourselves to some new knowledge? It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant: learn how to tie some knots, watch a video on a historical event you’ve never heard of, or paint a picture if you’re feeling artistic. It’s a chance to gain a little knowledge and have fun while doing it!

Enjoy Your Summer!

Life can be busy, and we need to take the opportunity to rest whenever we can. So amidst all the assignments and scheduled appointments, remember to take a little time for yourself this summer. Commit to spending at least one day doing whatever helps you detox. Trust me, it will be the best day of your year.

*Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote healthy SEL, simply follow this link!