I used to think it was simple. Finish work, start holiday….until I went into teaching…
The end of my first term of my teaching practice saw me crying in a heap, I was 29 years old – not a young NQT by any means. Unfortunately as successive terms came and went I found more and more bizarre ways of dealing with the strange limbo land of moving from a mad crazy frenetic state to well….a less frenetic state.
Alcohol – tried this lots – made me feel very ill and very helpless that I couldn’t manage my emotions – indeed I had no real idea ‘how’ to feel at the end of really traumatic end of terms and exhausting end of terms…the ‘what the hell just happened?’ endings that left me feeling angry on the inside and hopeless on the outside.
Whatever you do, don’t just switch off!
This was possibly some of the best advice I was given – start the ‘disengagement’ of ‘full on’ business at least a week before you are due to break up – this does not suggest that we forget about the quality of our work but rather look at the speed and quantity with more perspective – there will be things that need to be done now and there are other things that can be sorted after the break. Get some perspective from a colleague if you are unsure as to what to push to the next term. My three questions for a ‘sanity check’ are:
- Is what you are doing productive or just busy for the sake of busy?
- Will it really matter 6 months from now? (if you are in any doubt as to what I mean by that, take a look at the A4 folders from previous ‘training sessions’ gathering dust in your staff office)
- Will anyone suffer as a result of me not doing X?
Get out of teacher-mode and let others do things for you.
After you’ve thought about what you need to do this holiday period, select any remaining tasks your friends or family could help with. This might include cooking, fixing stuff or even repainting the kitchen. School staff including teachers and head teachers can find it hard to get out of the mindset of doing things for others – it’s practically ingrained into our DNA – but it’s important to allow yourself to relax. It’s ok to accept a bit of help!
To get rid of the guilty feeling we all get when we pass on work, only ask people to do things that you would absolutely do for them and with whom you have that type of relationship. It is those folks who you can comfortably turn to when you need to get help with a burden.
If you feel pressure to see people over summer, let it go!
This advice is for people who put themselves under pressure to see friends and family at this time of year; especially if you feel you’ve neglected this obligation during term. If you’re not worried about seeing people then don’t turn this into an issue – just appreciate that it’s not an obligation.
But if there are too many people on your list to see, you could end up feeling as though every day is as scheduled as your usual school week. Why not consider a new way of seeing people? Bring different groups together with a dinner or afternoon tea, or even a fun night of chatter – a ‘pot luck’ supper can take the pressure of the host having to cook.
That way you don’t feel the stress of cramming everything into your social calendar with one-on-one meet ups.
It does take planning in advance to enjoy the restorative benefits of school holidays. The rewards go beyond your reinvigorated mind and body, however; if you can remind yourself that your job is something that you DO not who you are, this will boost your energy levels and have a positive impact on your family and friends too.
It’s ok to have a pyjama day or three!
It’s fine to indulge your inner sloth and a pyjama day is a true joy – especially since you don’t have to be ill this time!
Release any inner guilt about losing track of time – infact, ditch the watch and switch to Einstein Time where time comes from the inside. There’s no bell or timetable, just you and your day dreams. If you have kids like me then even better! The look of sheer heaven on my kid’s faces when I suggested a PJ & TV day (it was pouring down outside) with no schedule for lunch or dinner was priceless! Also we are teaching our kids the importance of ‘downtime’ and that can’t be undervalued.
A FREE MP3 Relaxation Download is available on our Client Resources Page.