By the time the holidays roll around I know I am absolutely exhausted and am usually dragging my physically and mentally drained self across the finish line. Teachers give so much of themselves during the term – teaching, guiding, encouraging and nurturing the next generation. So, it makes total sense for us to be running on empty when the holidays arrive.
Teacher burnout and overwhelm is very real and I always find the holidays come around at the perfect time to disconnect, reflect and re-energize. Over the years I have enjoyed many school holidays as a teacher and I thought I’d share with you some of the things I like to do during a staycation.
Have a pamper day
Put a day aside or break it up into a series of small treats over a few days just for pampering yourself. It may be treating yourself to a massage, getting your nails or hair done, booking in a spa treatment, spending time reading, lazing in the backyard or indulging in days worth of movies or video games (guilty). Whatever it is that helps you relax, do it!
Sorting out home life
I hate to admit it, but there are many items on the personal agenda that get pushed aside during term time, and when the holidays arrive it is the ideal time to sort out home life. It could be from getting the car serviced, following up on health check-ups, gardening, catching up on projects around the house, sorting out taxes or spring cleaning. There is nothing more satisfying than getting things at home organised and it helps in making you feel more mentally prepared for the new term too.
There is nothing wrong with spending the day in your pyjamas or putting on your comfiest clothes. I know my alarm clock is set to stupid o’clock throughout the term and there is nothing more satisfying than spending longer than usual in bed, finishing the book I started 8 weeks ago or enjoying cuddles with the kids.
Catching up with Friends
Without the hectic-ness of school for a couple of weeks, it certainly makes it easier for meeting up with friends you may not have seen since the last holiday or the one before that! As well, it is a great time to catch up with family members and enjoy some quality time together.
Staying up late
Teachers can just be like kids who go over to their best friends house for a sleepover and stay up too late snacking on bad food, watching scary movies and falling asleep in the wee hours of the morning. Usually, as adults, it is compensated with red wine, decadent treats and binge-watching the latest popular TV series, or heading out to enjoy some mid-week entertainment. Thankfully, without the prospect of setting an alarm in the early morning, it is the ideal time to indulge in some late nights.
My husband and I are both teachers, so it made sense to get married during the holidays. It is not uncommon for teachers all over the world to use their holidays as a time to say ‘I do’. It saves on organising unplanned leave, which usually means prepping lessons for while you’re away (and who likes writing lessons plans…nobody!)
Alisha on her wedding day
Thinking about the next term or the new school year
It’s true! I will spend some portion of the holidays thinking about my class and reflecting on what I can do to be a better teacher. It may be regarding lesson ideas, classroom management, organisation or just all things related to teaching. Some holidays it takes up a small portion of my time, other times it equates to a day or two worth. Overall, you do what works for you and don’t feel guilty about how little or much thought or energy you put into planning school life.
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Not looking at the time every 15 minutes
Before I got my apple watch, I never wore my watch during the holidays. In all honesty, I have no reason to know the time since I haven’t got a need to stay on schedule! I only wear a watch now to make sure I get up off the couch and move around every now and then!
Start a self-care journal or routine
Self-care is a vital part of success as a teacher, and we are so often guilty of pushing it aside. Take the time during the holidays to setup a self-care routine or start a self-care journal where you can create self-care checklists, record thoughts and inspiration or things you are grateful for. We have made a journal especially to help teachers dedicate more time to looking after themselves. Find it here.
Enjoying family time
One of the perks of teaching is getting to enjoy the holidays with your kids. Everyone, young and old, is a bit weary by the end of term and happy to slow down and spend time together. School break is a splendid time for exploring a part of your home town.
No matter how you spend your holidays, enjoy them. As teachers we work so hard and you have earned every minute!
Ashleigh with her family
A Fun Back to School Activity:
Instead of asking your students to write a recount about their holidays, why not turn it around and ask them to write about what they think YOU got up to during the holidays. This is a fun activity that students love and always ensures a laugh while you are marking their work!
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