Tis the season for staff Secret Santa, holiday themed spirit weeks, and making salt-dough ornaments with your students. The month of December is full of joy, cheer, and let’s be honest, counting down the days until the semester officially ends. It’s time for us as educators to reflect on the past 5 months; the good, the bad, and the straight-up ugly. It’s also time for us to adjust our priorities, here’s how.
This one is cliché, but beyond necessary. This often gets overlooked because many of us have partners, children, side hustles, A.K.A zero time to prioritize ourselves. Educators are the first to preach the importance of not pouring from an empty cup, yet we just drink absurd amounts of caffeine to compensate for the emptiness and act like it’s the same thing. During this time off, do something that you don’t typically do for yourself. Take a nap, get a pedicure, go to a yoga class, call your mom, binge Ted Lasso (highly recommend), or do nothing. Your body and brain deserve to feel loved – guilt free!
Journal (or attempt to)
I know I’m not the only one who scrolls Pinterest, admiring the girl showing off her “easy” bullet journal. I was instantly inspired, and almost as instantly crushed. It turns out the cuteness of my flare pen and fresh new journal didn’t change the fact that I have the handwriting of a third grade boy. All this to say, journaling doesn’t need to be visually appealing. Use it as an opportunity to reflect and leave what you want to leave on that page. For those of you who are struggling to get started, here are a few prompted journals that I recommend!
Plan a Trip (or a “sick day”)
This one may get me in trouble, so apologies to any administrators reading along; but never underestimate the power of having something to look forward to. I went to Seattle with some college gals over Labor Day weekend and MAN, was it worth it. We have so many people relying on us; therefore, if we are not at our best, we are not going to effectively lead our students or our team to success. If you know that the end of February is typically when you have 17 new grey hairs and the memory of a goldfish, perhaps you plan to have some “appointments” the last Monday of the month and you take the dang day. Your mental health is so important, your colleagues will thank you for coming back the next day rejuvenated and ready to tackle what may come. Teacher guilt is real, teacher burn out is real, but also, substitutes are real! I know times are tough and extra hands are hard to come by, but I promise you all will be well if you are not there for one day. Channel your inner Ferris Bueller (responsibly and in moderation, of course).