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How to Enjoy a Guilt Free Teacher Summer

Until this past week, I’ve been enjoying a lot of structured relaxation. As soon as school let out in June, Fred and I headed to Seattle for my sister’s graduation from the University of Washington. From there, we went on a 10-day trip to Maui and Oahu. Every day in Hawaii, Fred planned a packed schedule that always started with a morning hike, followed by lunch and then beach time for the rest of the day.

This summer, I’ve teamed up with Life is Good, the positive lifestyle brand, to spread the power of optimism! This year is their 25th anniversary and to celebrate, they’re asking everyone to share #SomethingGood on social media. With each post shared, a donation is made to the Life is Good Kids Foundation to help children overcome life traumas. I encourage all of you to join me! Your #SomethingGood could anything from catching up with an old friend for coffee, or taking a fun vacation like I did! I definitely was able to find #SomethingGood everyday on my trip. 

I have now been back from my trip less than a week and am continuing to enjoy my summer break.

However, after so much structured relaxation, I’m struggling with guilt on days when I feel that I haven’t done anything productive. For example, my schedule one day was: wake up, eat, sleep, eat again, and then go back to sleep. The guilt was real that day!

At the end of our school year, I was chatting with my grade team leader and learned that, as a lead, she was heading back to school early. I was super sympathetic about her condensed summer. She surprised me though by saying, “I’m actually glad, because I need that routine.” Internally, I thought, “Yeah, right. No one ACTUALLY thinks that.”

Now I know exactly what she means—I am flailing right now without a routine. I reached out to some teacher friends to help get my summer self back on track, and I got some great tips that have allowed me to still enjoy #SomethingGood everyday during my break.

1.)  SET A SUMMER VISION

What is your vision for yourself professionally, personally and socially before heading back to work? Write one sentence for each and use your visions to help you backwards plan the summer. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed when a million other “To Do” items start running through your mind.

I’ve listed my visions below. Notice that my visions are pretty specific—yours absolutely does not need to be! Do what is right for you. Ultimately these will help keep you grounded in what’s most important this summer.

Stephanie’s Vision:

Personally: Have at least 4 outdoor/pool days before work starts again.

Socially: Hang out or video chat with at least 5 friends and leave the house at least 3 times a week.

Professionally: Write at least 2 blog posts and share at least 3 back to school resources

2.)  ESTABLISH A MORNING ROUTINE

Decide on a reasonable time for you to wake up each morning and plan something to do to get your morning started. Ideas I have heard from other teachers include: morning walks, doggie play dates, morning reading or a quick workout. For myself, I’ve been committing to daily coffee shop visits with my laptop in tow. This has allowed me to start my day in a consistent way and also get some work done.

3.)  CREATE A DAILY AGENDA

I like to create my agenda the night before so that I’m mentally prepared for the next day.  Keep it simple with bullet points and remember that less is more! You can always do more during the day but keep only your Must Do’s on the list to avoid unnecessary guilt at the end of the day.

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As teachers, we tend to always be on the go; however, the summer down time is a huge change of pace from what we’re accustomed to. These tips have helped me experience more #SomethingGood moments this summer. Let me know below what you have been doing to help yourself enjoy your summer! If you use any of these tips, please share it with me. I’m curious to learn what everyone’s visions for their summer selves are!

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