May 21st, 2020 – by Kelly Baird, Co-Founder and CEO of Flow to You
“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the hillside.” Maud Hart Lovelace
As this incredibly unique school year is drawing to a close (amid all the extreme effort that MAYCEMBER requires), let’s take a deep breath and acknowledge the fact that summer break is almost here.
Summer might mean more emphasis on home/life projects and more attention to loved ones. I suggest that this year, let’s consider an even more intentional approach.
Now is the perfect time to be proactive towards what the next two and half months will hold. This year especially, there is a need (possibly urgent) to schedule time for a new set of experiences. Let’s be honest – you survived. You did it. You are here. It has been a grind.
So, what now?
Many people I know in human resources and the behavioral health field report that we are just beginning to see the fall-out from the past 14 months, and those in education are no exception. We adults were challenged and pushed beyond what we could have imagined – and now, here we are. We met the challenge and powered through with empathy, heart, and sheer determination because that is what we do.
Similar to a marathon runner who trained and prepped and then ran the race – we made it across a finish line (of sorts). We may have to run the race again, but we have succeeded in this objective, and now there has never been a better time for increased self-care.
So, what does that look like in our 24/7, overly scheduled world? We still have to keep all the balls in the air … how do we do it?
Step 1: Start with a bit of scheduled time to breathe and review what this experience (both personally and professionally) has been like.
- Set aside a few quiet hours of time alone (possibly in a setting that is soothing), away from screens and distractions.
- Using a journal, list and review the emotions you may have put aside for a number of months (or maybe a year),.
- Recognize and honor whatever feelings are there.
- Take a moment to highlight and acknowledge your accomplishments and the good you have created.
- Recognize your positive achievements during the past year – no matter how large or small they may seem.
- Allow yourself to be aware and present while doing this – feeling good about these facts.
Step 2: On another day, take an objective look at what your summer commitments look like.
- Recognize that your nervous system, brain, mind, and spirit need time to reset and recharge.
- Plan time for rest and relaxation – scheduled time to do nothing amid peace and quiet, even for “micro-breaks” of 5-10 minutes, if that is all that you have.
- Being realistic, review your plans for over the summer
- Make simplification a priority
- Take away some of the “Have To’s”
- Identify and add in the “Want To’s”
- Make simplification a priority
Extra: Decide to model this intentional pairing down for those around you. Be brave enough to demand it for yourself, and if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for the sake of others.
- Recognize that by recharging, you ultimately allow yourself to serve others in a better, more meaningful way.
Step 3: Sometime around July 1st, find the time to think about how you will include and schedule self-care in your plans for next year.
- Identify and schedule what revives you.
- Adopt strategies for limiting social media, screens, and news during your free time.
- Seek time and relationships with people who make you feel good.
- Prioritize sleep.
- Plan time to be outside on a regular basis.
- Adopt “micro-breaks” during windows of opportunity.
- Use music for stress relief.
Just like that marathon runner who is about to cross the finish line, give yourself gratitude for making it this far – then, take time to revive after your achievement, get ready for the next race, and keep on breathing.
You, your gifts, and talents are valued and needed in this world.
The Elevating Teachers blog is a platform designed to elevate educator voices. It’s a space to share stories and tips for maintaining a sense of purpose and wellbeing in and out of the classroom.
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