What are your plans? For teachers, the stakes are high over summer break. We only have so much time to rest, and it is a need to unwind and rebalance over the summer. A bad break can make the start of the next year feel devastating.
Here are 10 things you absolutely must do on your teacher summer break to ensure that you get your well-deserved R&R!
1) Reconnect with a Friend
Who did you lose touch with over the school year? What relationship may have suffered from the hustle and bustle of the school year? Every relationship takes work. Whether it’s a spouse, loved one, distant cousin, or your bestie from high school, attention and energy are deserved. Give them intentional, focused time and attention.
2) See About Your Health!
Every sick day comes with pressure. Writing sub plans and falling behind on paperwork are not fun. Often, we put off those important doctor visits for the sake of keeping up with our career. Summer is a great time to see the professionals who will help us maintain our health and function at our best. Doctors, dentists, therapists, nutritionists, and a variety of other professionals are waiting for the opportunity to get your health and happiness to a new level!
3) Intentional Rest on your Teacher Summer
How do you rest? For some, it’s a simple flop onto the couch and background noise from a TV, or the glow of a phone and mindless scrolling. If you’ve ever done this for a whole summer, you may remember how good it felt at the time to shut down. You also might remember how unsatisfying it felt afterwards, or how terrible the start of the next year felt.
Rest is important but it should be intentional. Rest by engaging in activities that are memorable, bring you joy, and fit with your passions and priorities. This doesn’t mean that you should swear off your couch and throw away your TV. It just means that you should allow yourself intentional, active rest that engages your senses and fills your summer with purpose.
4) Up Your Financial Literacy
Feeling strapped for cash? Summer is a great time to look at your financial status and take control and ownership of your financial future. Set a budget for the coming year, look over your retirement account, or make investments in places like the stock market (You and I can both get a free stock when you sign up here!) There are tons of free resources on how to utilize credit, pay back loans, and extend the power of your money. Grow financially over the summer!
5) Take Yourself on an “artist date”
I first stumbled on the term artist date in a creative writing course, while going through the book “The Artist’s Way.” The author, Julia Cameron, offers a great explanation here: “Put simply, an Artist Date is a once-weekly solo expedition to do something that enchants or interests you. It is half artist and half date. You are “wooing” your artist.”
Spend your teacher summer fostering your creativity and artistic side. Nurture and honor the artist in you and find the activities that will inspire you!
6) Think Positively of Your Work
Many teachers dread the return of school. They consider all of the work to be done, the students/parents they will encounter, and the new initiatives, programs, and trainings they will face. How often do you think positively of YOUR work in particular. In other words, do you spend time complimenting and praising the effort and expertise that you bring to the field?
Spend some time with those empowering thoughts this summer. Reflect on things you did that worked. Visualize the powerful impact you have had and will have. Consider the untapped potential that you are still uncovering as an educator and professional.
7) Sharpen a Routine
Discipline is freeing! The more routinized you become, the more set up for success you are. It is challenging to start a routine during a hectic school year, so why not try now? Wake up at a set time, exercise a certain amount of times per week, prep meals early in the day… Whatever routine you want to improve, do it now while you have the capacity. Set it so that later, you can forget it and rely on it!
8) Expand Your Mind
Teacher, are you a good student? Summer is an excellent opportunity to increase your knowledge and push your own learning limits. Whether you want to learn more about pedagogy and curriculum, or you want to learn skills outside of your career, now is the time. Read books, watch instructional videos, sign up for courses, make attempts at new hobbies. Do not leave your teacher summer break in the same intellectual level as you walked in to it.
What do you know about the area you live in? Chances are, not everything! Consider this a challenge to attend an event or go to a place locally that you have not tried before. Food, parks, museums, coffee shops, fairgrounds… There are so many places to explore around you! Find something new and create an experience.
10) Teacher Summer Leads to Teacher Fall
When I say prep for the school year, I DO NOT MEAN lesson plan, map out curricular units, or attend PD’s. You are welcome to do those things if you feel comfortable, but that is not and should not be a requirement.
I do mean that you should prepare yourself for the school year. Mind, body, and soul. Take time reflecting on the upcoming year with an honest look at your needs and your progress towards meeting those needs. Write down the barriers that you see to your career satisfaction and develop plans to address and overcome them. Use this time out of the workplace to create an easier transition back into the workplace.
Tip: A strong summer plan can go a long way to self-advocacy. If you are facing injustices or unfair working environments as a teacher (which many are), teacher summer break is the time to create your plan for advocacy and action towards a better environment.
I hope you have a relaxing teacher summer. More importantly, I hope that your summer break leads you into a successful, healthy, and enjoyable school year. If you found this list useful, share it with your teacher friends now!
Read next: 32 Self Care Strategies for Teachers