The summer holiday should be a time of fun and laughter for teachers across the land. Yet, going from running at 100 mph, right down to zero overnight, really doesn’t do teachers any favours.
As a young teacher, I was looking forward to the prospect of a six-week, paid holiday. However, one year I found myself feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed throughout the whole summer.
And, I don’t think I’m alone in having felt this way either.
A scroll through teacher forums reveals the sheer number of teachers who find it a challenge to unwind and relax at a time when they need it (and deserve it) the most.
Thankfully, I have come out on the other side. Making changes to my lifestyle, including pursuing other passions while working as a supply teacher, have supported me in not experiencing intense overwhelm during the holidays.
At the time, it was a mix of practical and more “woo-woo” tools that supported my wind-down during the holidays.
Here are the things that worked for me:
One of my school holiday rituals was to mark the end of term with a trip to the salon—literally washing all traces of school out of my hair and out of my life. This ritual marked the starting point of winding down for the holiday and helped to ease me into a slower pace of life.
I discovered Reiki at a time when I was incredibly stressed. Reiki is a self-development and healing tool that balances your chakras and energy, supporting you in releasing any heavy emotions and feelings that have caused the energy in your body to become blocked or stagnant.
All of this happens via the practitioner, who “holds the space” or channels life force energy through your body. My experience with Reiki left me calm and relaxed—a bit like having a weight lifted off of my shoulders—which in turn supported me in being able to let go and relax.
A new routine
As teachers, our days are filled with an endless list of things to do, and during the holidays this list loses its sense of urgency, leaving us with “nothing” to do.
One way I found of getting around this was to create a new routine. Only this time, it would be full of all the things that made me feel good. Simply by doing more of what I wanted to do raised my energy levels because I was enjoying myself. So, make a list of the things that you want to do and love doing, then create a little schedule filling your week with the things that lighten you up.
I’ve learned that as horrible as anxiety and overwhelm feel, they can be a catalyst for change. What I began to do is use the holiday to introduce more spiritual practices. For me, that was Reiki and meditation, as well as reading books like The Magic by Rhonda Byrne, which promotes mindfulness techniques such as gratitude.
With more time on your hands during the holidays, you can explore these new practices, introducing them into your life in small doses, and tweak them as you go along.
By the time you head back to school, you’ll have new practices in place that work wonders for your mind, body, and soul—not to mention your overall wellbeing. #winwin
Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing summer holiday overwhelm. My big message is to try not to let it get you down. Talk to professionals and people you trust. Then, take action steps—no matter how small—to get yourself out of the funk so you can go about your holiday.
After all, you’ve worked hard and you really deserve it.