There’s nothing quite like summer vacation for teachers. After ten months of hard work and dedication to our students, we get two months to rest and recharge. We actually have time to do things that we can’t do during the school year, things that we really should do all of the time.
We can fall back on that old excuse of “no time” when we go back to the classroom, or we could use the gift of time during the break to change the bad habits that keep us from taking care of ourselves during the school year. Research tells us it takes twenty-one days to change a habit, and summer is the perfect time to do that.
We are all well aware of how important it is to exercise and eat well. We also know how hard it is to let that slip when the busyness of the school year sets in. That’s why summer is the time to put in the hard work needed to change our habits. If we can make it a priority to start an exercise routine and to ensure that we are eating well, when we go back to school, those good habits will be in place, and we will be more likely to stick to the routines we established when we had the time. And, don’t try to overdo it with crazy workouts and diets. Set goals that are reasonable so you don’t set yourself up for failure.
I am super guilty of this: scarfing down my lunch as quickly as possible, so I can use my lunch to grade assignments or plan lessons. My rationale is a good one – the more I do at work, the less I take home. However, that’s not a healthy habit for several reasons. First of all, eating slowly is much better for our digestion. Secondly, sitting in the staffroom and socializing when we eat lunch is far better for our soul. During summer break, make sure you savour your lunch (while you sit), and keep that habit going when you go back to school.
How often do you do this during the school year? You’re chatting with friends or doing an activity with your children and the whole time your brain is somewhere else, planning a lesson, re-living a conversation with a parent, or stressing over a pile of grading you need to do. It’s a pretty common scenario for teachers, but it’s one that robs us of being in the all important present — and robs our loved ones of our time and attention. Summer allows us to get into the present, and to build the habit of staying there. Try giving your total attention to everything you do so when you go back to the classroom, you’re ready to leave school at school – where it should be.