I used to struggle with the idea that I was supposed to be taking time off during extended breaks. My pendulum swung from complete sloth who is not doing anything all day long to super over productive who doesn’t know how to take a break and misses out on the fun and memories with her family.
I often started my breaks with no real sense of what I wanted to leave them feeling like and would return to work either not feeling fully rested or feeling behind because I had done nothing work related at all during my break.
Then I noticed that when I gave myself a loose goal and developed a flexible plan I left my extended breaks refreshed and ready to go back.
I made sure that I took time to:
Definition: To cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. (v)
Rest for me means binge watching “Vampire Diaries” or “House” with my teens or just hanging out and talking and sometimes it’s taking a nap. What I’m doing is not as important as what I am not doing which is thinking about work or my business.
I am giving myself room to find mental clarity. If an idea or thought pops in as I create more and more white space I simply jot it down in my notes app and continue to go about my day.
Definition: (of a person) return to a normal state of mind or strength after a period of physical or mental exertion.
For me recharging means being in nature whether that is taking a walk in my neighborhood or going to our local park to hike a trail. Recharging for me also often involves reading a book for fun, working out, or having a long phone conversation with a friend. What recharges you? What brings you back to center?
Definition: To think deeply or carefully about.
Here is where I think about what has gone well in the time prior to the break. I have to be intentional about asking myself to celebrate my wins because no one can pinpoint my failings like I can. I make myself list at least three to five things that I have done well and think about which can be repeated or sustained. I ask myself how did I show up well for my teachers, my students, my team and my community?
Then I think about what needs improvement. What could I have done better in serving my teachers, my students, my team or our community?
I also reflect on a similar thread of these questions in relation to my family and my self care. How did I show up well for myself and my family? How could I have shown up better for myself and my family?
Definition: Ignite or cause to ignite again.
Here is the thing no one can keep your passion for teaching going but you. Teaching and leading are hard and heart work. In order to do it well and with a good attitude you have to surround yourself with other educators who are as passionate or more passionate about your role as you are. As a classroom teacher on my holiday breaks I used to read blog posts or read professional books to help reignite my fire for teaching. As a reading specialist and instructional coach I now attend virtual summits, join mastermind groups, or catch up on training in my coffee and coaching membership.
Just to be clear you are human. You are not a robot so that means that like me you may weave in and out of these steps in one day or over the period of a week or you may lean heavily into one or two of these steps and neglect the rest. That’s okay. These are suggestions and you know you better than anyone so give yourself time to sit and breathe and decide which of these you need to lean into the most.
Rest-Choose an activity that helps your mind create white space.
Recharge-Choose an activity that gives you energy or makes you feel centered.
Reflect- Ask yourself what went well the first semester?, What practices do you want to continue?, and what do you not want to repeat?
Reignite- What can you do to help stoke your passion for teaching again?
Here are two online summits that might help you reignite your passion for teaching and/or leading again:
Online summits for coaches or leaders: Simply Coaching Summit “Reset”
Online summit for teachers: Teacher New Year Reboot 2021
Let me know which of these you decide to lean into and tag me on social media, I’d love to connect with you.