New Year, New You. But, is it really?
Welcome to the new decade. Here we are. The New Year is supposed to feel cleansing, exciting, and brimming with possibilities. But, as we tuck the sparklers and the confetti away for next year, it turns out this New Year may not actually feel very new at all. Especially when, for most of us, the holiday season feels hectic and exhausting, and we come back to work still fighting the same cold we had three weeks ago.
Right now, depending on how your school and/or district arranges its school calendar, you may be at the start of a new semester and adjusting to the changes that come with that; or, you might be heading into the stresses of exam (and grading) season; or, you may be part-way through the second trimester; or, you might simply be half-way through the year. No matter which way you slice it, most teachers would probably agree that their annual cycle is refreshed and renewed according to the school calendar, rather than the Gregorian one
So, as a teacher, how do you get yourself through the rest of the school year without burning out? One of the things we recommend is to try to change your perception. Instead of worrying about getting to June, think about getting to March break. By breaking your year up into smaller chunks of time (ie. September/August to December, January to March break, March to June, and summer break), you can allow yourself to focus on smaller and more realistic personal and professional goals. In this way, your year can be loosely broken down into quarters, and you can use these natural breaks in the school calendar to organize your time and your goals accordingly.
Instead of worrying about getting to June, think about getting to March break.
In addition to adopting a shift in perspective, we’ve put together a list 4 more things you can do to help you get to March break feeling relatively resourced and resilient.
You should absolutely take the pause you need to get yourself grounded again after the craziness of the holidays, but don't shrink so far back that you loose touch with the people who help you stay level.
While the holiday season may have had you feeling a little socially overwhelmed and in need of some alone time to feed your inner introvert, don’t forget that maintaining social connections are still good for the head and heart. You should absolutely take the pause you need to get yourself grounded again after the craziness of the holidays, but don't shrink so far back that you loose touch with the people who help you stay level. Grab a coffee. Schedule a phone-date. Get out for weekly runs together. It doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you do it with someone you love, right?
Setting aside time to breathe in some crisp winter air can do wonders to help you fight off those winter blues.
This might be the hardest time of the year to get motivated to go outside, especially when cold, wet, and it’s almost dark by the time you get home. Still, setting aside time to breathe in some crisp winter air can do wonders to help you fight off those winter blues. Can you squeeze in a walk with a colleague at lunch time? Or, maybe plan a hike in the woods with your family? Whether it’s a special adventure somewhere new or just a jaunt in your regular stomping grounds, with the appropriate clothing, getting outside is a great way to feel connected.
With March break symbolizing the “goal post” of this quarter, think about planning something special during that time away from the classroom. It doesn’t have to be big like a trip (though if that works for you, go for it!). It can be small, like trying something new – take a creative course or plan to play tourist in your own city. Whatever it is, plan to have fun.
Whatever it is, plan to have fun.
Don’t let up on planning and sticking to your goals – whether they are personal, professional, or wellness-related.
Speaking of “goal posts”, don’t let up on planning and sticking to your goals – whether they are personal, professional, or wellness-related. Use this quarter to work towards the smaller components of one of your larger goals. We say it a lot, but our Goal Flows are an excellent tool to help you break your big goals down into more manageable pieces. If you’re still not sure about what kinds of goals you want to set, our Wellness Checklist is a great way to dive in, get a sense of where you’re at with your own wellness, and what might be some areas you want to explore further. Additionally, the Wellness Pie, the Wellness Map, and the Wellness Plan are all helpful tools when it comes to examining, planning, and achieving personal wellness goals. If you need a little more guidance in using these tools or a quick refresher on general teacher wellness tips, don’t be afraid to revisit Chapter 1: Teacher Wellness from The Well Teacher. The entire chapter provides an excellent starting point for examining your own wellness needs and planning realistic and achievable goals.
Got any teacher wellness tips of your own on how to stay well in the post-holiday, pre-March break quarter? Share them in the comments below.