As fulfilling as working with students of all ages can be, the daily challenges you face may leave you feeling depleted and headed toward burnout. Our Advisory Board is here to share what they’re doing to recharge over the winter break in hopes of sparking a few ideas for you.
Already know how you’ll recharge? Share your plans for the winter break in the comments below.
There are a few ways that I like to recharge over winter break, but my favorite is a winter outing in the woods with my family. We usually pile the kids on a toboggan and pull them through a snowy forest. The soft blanket of snow and the quiet creaking of the trees help quiet our minds from our busy lives. There is a peacefulness in the winter that reminds us to be in the present moment because all too soon spring will be around the corner.
—Jenny, school psychologist
I spend time with my family over break and travel to a different state. The change of scenery helps me recharge. I like to walk through stores and eat at local restaurants that I cannot visit in my home state.
—Gina, music teacher
I’m recharging by reading all those great books I’ve been wanting to read, by hanging out with my husband, and by napping—a lot!
—Nancy, rock star teacher
During winter break, I will “cut the cord” to my job. I won’t check emails, work on evaluations, or complete paperwork. I’ll make sure I have one day that is not planned so I can do as I please!
—Josephine, school social worker
My favorite way to recharge over winter break is to bake. I love baking! It brings back wonderful childhood memories of spending time with my mother in the kitchen. While I love sweets, I usually give most of them away. Baking is a great stress-reducer, and the baked goods make a perfect holiday party hostess gift or a thoughtful gift for unsung heroes like your postal delivery person or local grocery checkout person.
—Wanda, high school guidance counselor
Winter break is a time for family and rest; however, I also use it as a time to regroup and recharge for the second semester. My mom is a retired career educator, so we will engage with her in some shoptalk; she always has great insights, especially since she gets to sit back and view things from outside the classroom. I spend some time looking at a few articles from professional magazines that I have not read, seeking ideas to approach not only delivering content to students, but also getting them reengaged with learning. Finally, I take a little time to learn something I want to learn. It is always good to practice being a learner, especially in informal situations and settings.
—Beverly, AP teacher
How do I plan to recharge? I plan to recharge by relaxing and enjoying the holidays. The holidays have a way of putting a smile on everyone’s face. I plan to enjoy my family and friends over the winter break. I love to see my children cozy in their pajamas and in the spirit of the holiday season. This rejuvenates me for the next six months, until summer break.
For me, recharging is spending time with my family and friends and doing things for myself. My students take so much of my energy during the school year, so I use the breaks for “me time.” The little things are important to me, and I always take time to appreciate them when we have school breaks.
—Dana, English teacher
Midyear breaks are a vital time for me to recharge. Celebrating a holiday by being with family for an extended time enables me to once again feel holistic. Winter break is also a convenient time to catch up on sleep and read books simply for pleasure, not necessarily for professional responsibilities. It is okay to allow for personal fulfillment.
—Gail, district quality compensation program coordinator
Over Christmas break, I will read books for leisure and take time to exercise! I will also spend quality time with my own kiddos and enjoy being “just a mom” for a couple of weeks!
—Ashley, school interventionist
I plan on catching up on sleep, house projects, and quality time with my family over winter break. I would love to sleep in until I wake up naturally—without an alarm—even just one morning over break. I have some pending house projects that I would like to finish. And I would love to have lazy days with the kids where we play games and make zero plans, just see where the day takes us.
—Emily, school counselor
I plan to recharge this winter break by sitting down and making goals for self-care. I plan to work on the more “fun” aspects of my work to help prepare myself for getting back to work. For example, part of my self-care will be putting calm jars together for classroom teachers. Although it is work, I set the boundary of doing only activities I enjoy, while being very intentional about setting aside everything else.
I also plan to spend time with those who help me recharge. It is important to spend time with those who help bring happiness and joy to my life.
Lastly, I plan to focus on wellness and healthy habits. By doing this over break, I plan to create a habit that will be carried over into my workday. Often simple things like making and eating lunch can be set aside on busy days. I plan to be more intentional about my own personal health.
—Brigette, elementary school counselor
How will I recharge over winter break? I will be vacationing overseas. I love to travel, and I make it a point to visit a new place on planet Earth at least one time per year. These adventures can include a road trip to a small town I’ve never been to, a visit to a state I’ve never been in, or a long flight to somewhere faraway. Putting myself physically in another spot takes me away mentally!
—Rebecca, ASD behavioral coach
The Free Spirit Advisory Board of Educators is a group of professionals who provide feedback that helps make Free Spirit books be even more beneficial for kids, teens, and the adults who care about them. Interested in becoming a member? Recruitment is ongoing! For more information about the benefits and responsibilities of membership, download our Free Spirit Advisory Board flyer and our Free Spirit Advisory Board application.
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I plan to go on a meditation retreat for a week upstate. During the school year, I go to meditation classes in Manhattan at KMC-NYC. Meditation–learning how to let go of negativity and connect with, and cultivate, my own inner reserve of peace–keeps me sane and happy and feeling like I’ve got something to give when I get back to my job! Paige, School Social Worker
Thanks, Paige! That sounds wonderful.