As teachers, we run ourselves ragged. We rarely take time for ourselves. We pour and pour and pour our heart and souls into our teaching, our students, our craft, our passion. But what do we do to fill ourselves back up?
School breaks are supposed to give us that chance, but my question to you is – are you taking full advantage of your school break?
With Christmas break nearly upon us, some of you are already filling up that break with appointments, events, parties, and commitments. It’s easy to “fill” our time over our breaks and then come back to school as tired as we were before break.
But what if we looked at our school break a little differently? Hear me out here:
What if you looked at your break like many of us look at our finances. Time and money are both neutral resources we can use to live our purpose and fulfill our potential. We can use them wisely and be good stewards of our money, time and other resources. Or we can be foolish, spend them haphazardly, or worst of all expend our resources thoughtlessly.
Your school break is your time. It is time off of work to spend with family, friends, AND to rejuvenate your spirit.
So – let’s say you have a budget of 16 days of a break (Saturday the 19th of December to Sunday January 3rd for example). Before that first day of break arrives, what if you budgeted out your time so that you were intentional with the time you had?! How would that change your break? How would that change YOU as you go back to school after break?
The crux of being intentional is having an intention, or a goal, that you are prioritizing. So, thinking about the last day of break, how would like to feel on that last day?
- Geared up.
Whatever words you came up with, write them each down on the top of a sticky note.
Now, underneath the word at the top of each sticky note, write down one or two things you must do in order to feel that way. For example, if you word is “Rested” then you may write, “1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; 2. Allow myself to nap any day that I feel like napping.”
However many words you wrote down, you should have that many sticky notes, all with a couple of actions you can take on your break in order to feel that way.
After looking at your words and your actions that you’ve written down, close your eyes and imagine what that last day will feel like. You will be all of those things that you intended. Think about how different you will be returning from break from how you are feeling now.
Now, in contrast, think about years past when you haven’t been so intentional. What did it feel like when you went back to school? How did your body feel? How did your mind and emotions react to this?
What does it cost you to be unintentional or thoughtless with your time (just going through the motions and events of break)??
Does it cost you…energy, sleep, your health, joy, your ability to be fully present, or something else?
Is that cost worth it? Are you willing to pay that cost?
If the answer is no, then look back at your sticky notes with your desired feelings and actions and make a plan to prioritize them.
Prioritize Your Time
As I said above, time is a resource. It’s a neutral resource – it’s not good or bad. But how you spend it can be wise or unwise. Here’s the thing though – the only person who can determine if your time is spent wisely or unwisely is YOU. You are the best and only person to make decisions about your time.
Here is an example: Teacher Tina decides to take a 1 hour nap every day of her break. Some may say she is “wasting time” that she could be spending with family or doing fun things. However, Tina knows how sleep deprived she gets during school weeks, especially here at the end of the semester when grades all need to be posted and there are endless events after school. She decides that a 1 hour nap each day helps her feel like she took time for herself and prioritized her own needs over those of her students which fuels her heart and shows herself love. It is an act of self-care that helps her return to work “filled up” and less resentful.
Right on, sister!
So, right now, look at your sticky notes, and the days on the calendar, and schedule in time for yourself to do the things YOU NEED in order to come back to work filled up, fueled up, and ready to rock!
Going in to break with a plan sets you up for success! A plan will set you up for taking full advantage of your school break.
When tempted to move that relaxing massage you planned for yourself in order to run some extra errands, just remember this: You are the best and only decision-maker for managing your time. No one knows better than you. And when you choose not to do the things you need in order to feel good at the end of your break, there is only yourself to blame. Don’t blame your friends, your kids, or your spouse for you not getting your “me time” this break. Own your needs – prioritize yourself and your needs – set yourself free from other people’s judgements – and fill up your “cup” this school break.
Take care of yourself!
~Alison, A Teacher’s Best Friend
PS – Want a spot-coaching session this Christmas break? Send me an email to set up a time for a 1 hour coaching session for just $39!!! That’s 40% off my normal rate! It’s my Christmas present to you. Now give that gift to yourself!