Ah...summer is almost here! As teachers, we know that the job isn't really 8:00-3:00 with summers off, but if you are like me, summer is the time when SO MUCH of your life happens. I'm not too tired to see friends. There are no papers to grade. I WANT to do something. Summer is when I do the most, but it's also when I recharge. Here are my top 10 ways I plan to recharge this summer.
1. Read for pleasure.
While a lot of teachers read all year long, we are often reading instructional guides, professional development materials, or reading (again) a novel meant for a younger audience. I have read Le Petit Prince at least 15 times. I do love it, but...I also really enjoy a story I haven't heard before. I plan to read in my hammock every day. And maybe even take a nap for a bit, too, if I'm lucky. :)
2. Learn something new.
Go to a conference and learn something new about teaching - maybe even pick up a salary shift in the process. Try a sport you haven't ever done. Take a music or dance class. Teach yourself how to make a new dish you've been wanting to try. Just keep it fresh! I'm going to learn to paddleboard. I've been wanting to for ages, and this summer is the time!
I love my social media. I can get lost in video games. I can watch funny videos all day long while playing video games and checking out my friends on social media. Next thing I know, hours have passed and I have done NOTHING. Summer is precious, so don't waste it on the couch staring at your news feed. If you have to, designate a time of the day where you are totally hands-off. For me, that is mealtime, but during summer, it also becomes pool time, naptime, reading time, hiking with my family time, and any other time where I'm doing the living rather than worrying about what everyone else is doing.
4. Go for a walk, a run, a hike, a bike ride, or whatever outdoor activity you love.
I love them all, but I'm a long-time runner. I always pick a race in the fall to train for, and that gets me up and out the door when it's near 100° in the summer. It doesn't have to be an organized activity. Get some headphones and take a walk. If you have hiking trails, ditch the headphones and listen to the birds. It's a great way to unwind and reconnect with the rest of the world.
5. Visit a museum, a garden, or a park.
I'm not a huge art-lover, but my husband went to art school, so he loves to check out museums. I love parks, gardens, and the Shakespeare Festival. It doesn't matter so much what you do, but I think it is so important to admire beauty in the world. That might mean looking at modern art, visiting a botanical garden, or listening to the symphony. There are so many options, often free, and summer is an amazing time to look around for new activities.
6. Make a to-do list. In fact, make two!
I make a to-do list everyday. It must be the teacher in me, because I love lists. I love to fill them up and cross them off. When summer comes, I can easily go downstairs in my pjs, drink coffee, and watch reruns of Grey's Anatomy all day long. I HAVE to have a to-do list or I do nothing. At all. So every Monday (also helps me keep track of the days!) I make a list of what I want to do that week. Then I make a list of what I have to do. Each day, I tick off a few of the have-to things, like doing laundry, grocery shopping, or calling the dentist. Then, I make sure I do the want-to things. I try really hard to research so that I come up with good want-to ideas. On the list already for this summer: paint basement floor (have to), have a seafood boil with family (want to), and move my irises (have to/want to).
7. Put yourself first.
If you are a teacher, you are used to your wants and needs coming after at least 15-20 other people's. If you are a mom, forget it! You're lucky if you ever get to what you want. It shouldn't be this way, and this will burn you out. This is why when you are on a plane, they tell you to put on your oxygen mask before helping your child. As a child, I thought this was the most awful thing ever, but as an adult, I get it. You cannot give your best to anyone when you are not taking care of yourself. Some ideas: get a pedicure, take a bath, exercise, lay in a hammock or on a blanket in the grass, get dinner with your best friend, go shopping, or eat at your favorite restaurant.
8. Catch up with friends.
Okay, so I have to admit something that only my teacher friends really get. I have some friends that are summer-only friends. I love them, but with teaching, with kids, with LIFE, we plan and plan and we just cannot get together. Then, summer comes along, and voilà! We have time to breathe. (A lot of my summer-only friends are coincidentally enough, yep... TEACHERS!). We chat on the phone, meet up for coffee or yoga, or just sit on my porch with snacks and drinks while our kids play in the yard. I feel so refreshed after reconnecting with old friends, and I'm blessed to have friends who understand "the teacher life."
9. Organize your classroom.
I know, you're thinking, "WHAT?!? Why am I working when I'm on break?" No, wait, actually, you're thinking, "Yes! I have a million things I need to do this summer!" I'm not proposing any heavy work. We all know how much we work in the summer, with planning, conferences, writing curriculum, teaching summer school, reading books for teaching, taking classes, etc. I don't really like doing much of this. (Except writing curriculum, which I happen to really like, and have done over many summer breaks). However, I do LOVE a pretty classroom, and I find that I love to organize, decorate, make posters, and create lots of fun things that I know I will never have time to do during the school year.
If you want to get a jump-start on your decorating, check out my classroom decorations and calendar sets HERE.
10. Binge watch your favorite t.v. shows.
I know a lot of you are planning this already. My teacher friends all over Facebook are trading recommendations for new shows to watch. I have a long list, but here's what I'm hooked on right now: Call the Midwife, The Crown, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Reign, and Versailles. I have a ton of other shows I love, but I'm all caught up right now...maybe they'll have new episodes this summer. :).
I hope you'll find some great ways to relax and recharge. I'd love to hear what you're planning to do! Leave a comment below.