Part of our Counselor’s Corner series. Click to read other posts in the Counselor’s Corner.
After the push of the end of the school year—grading final projects, entering grades, and desperately trying to engage students for the last hours and minutes—educators are typically in need of some serious rest and relaxation. But the highly touted “summers off” are rarely enjoyed by educators today. According to the Wall Street Journal (and my own experience), more and more educators have other obligations over the summer, including teaching summer school, taking classes, or working part-time jobs.
Even if you plan to stay busy this summer, you can get some much needed rest and relaxation—and you can do it without breaking the bank! Here are 10 ways to focus on self-care during the summer to help you feel rejuvenated for the year to come.
- Plan a trip. Making a plan to go somewhere outside of your usual orbit will give you something to look forward to in the final days of school, and if you plan something relaxing, like a trip to a lake or forest, you’ll be able to quickly recharge. Keep it slow-paced and not too ambitious.
- Explore your own backyard. You don’t have to travel far to have a good time. Check out sites like Groupon or Living Social for deeply discounted deals in your area.
- Read a book. Whether you prefer a traditional book or an e-reader, escaping into a book purely for pleasure will help you get outside of your “world” and de-stress.
- Make time for play with work. If you must work, take classes, or attend conferences for professional development over the summer, schedule time for fun with it. Take a class or attend a conference with a friend. Meet up before or after to do something recreational or get lunch or dinner together. If you are traveling to a conference, look for fun things to do in that city in the evening.
- Volunteer. Do something you enjoy while helping others. Check out sites like Volunteer Match or Serve.gov to find a volunteer opportunity in your area that matches your interests.
- Garden. Get back to nature by growing beautiful flowers and/or delicious veggies. If you don’t have a lot of space, make a container garden. Get tips and ideas from your local greenhouse or home improvement store.
- Get crafty. Use Pinterest to find fun ideas for your office or classroom. You can add cheer to your classroom or office by re-covering your desk chair or create extra storage and style by making milk crate seats for your students. You can find lots of great lessons and classroom project ideas, too. Do a quick search for your theme or unit and you will be surprised at all the great ideas you will find. Check out this great article if you are new to Pinterest.
- Learn a new skill. If you have the will there’s a way! You can find countless how-to guides and blogs on just about anything. Do a Web search and you will be surprised what you can find. If crafting or creating is your thing, many craft stores and hardware stores offer classes you can take to learn skills for a specific project.
- Embrace Technology. Educators can benefit from many technology tools. For example, Twitter is a great resource to create a Professional Learning Network. Follow hashtags such as #edchat (Education Chat) or #scchat (School Counselor Chat) for relevant resources and ideas. Here’s a great guide for those who are new to Twitter. Many places that offer professional development also offer courses on technology.
And last but not least . . .
- Don’t forget daily self-care strategies. Even if you’re not knee-deep in grading, lesson-planning, parent phone calls, and all the other in-school stresses, it’s still important to do the things you normally do to stay healthy and happy. Whether it’s yoga, running, going to the gym, meditation, or deep-breathing exercises, don’t let these things go just because you’re “on vacation.” And if you don’t already do any of these things, summer is a great time to start!
What do you do for self-care after the school year? What do you do for rest and relaxation?
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