Summer is upon us for many educators! This is a time to relax and recharge before the new school year begins, and we are once again called upon to teach the next generation. I want to share some wellness and self-care tips that have been taught to me by my best friend, a true teacher’s pet: Roy.
Full disclosure, Roy is my greyhound, but he is very wise and teaches and re-teaches me some very important self-care tips every summer. When it comes to unwinding and relaxing, he’s the guru of personal bliss. Now, this may seem like a thinly veiled attempt to justify a blog post about my dog, but I promise Roy knows what he’s talking about.
1. Reconnect with Your Loved Ones
Chances are that during the school year you don’t get to spend as much time as you would like with your loved ones. Now is a great time to prioritize those relationships that have been on the backburner. Of course, I mean family and friends, but when was the last time you had coffee with that old coworker who kept you sane when you worked together? What about the friend that just had a baby? I bet she could use a lunch out. Reach out to these people and make a plan early–we’re all busy and if it doesn’t get planned it just won’t happen. Double up and offer to meet these people at the places you keep meaning to go to but just don’t have time, or use these catch-up sessions as an excuse for some summer fun.
You are about eight million hours behind after a whole school year (I’m approximating here). Take some time for some guilt-free napping. Roy reminds me every day in the summer about our early afternoon nap (we fall into a pretty consistent routine of a three o’ clock nap every day when I’m not working). I know there are things to do and clean and plan, but an hour’s nap won’t hurt. If you have a furry friend to nap with, that’s definitely a plus.
3. Take Breaks
Regardless of your summer plans–a second job, family time, hardcore momming, or catching up on hobbies–take a break! The sun won’t be shining forever. Roy makes sure I get regular walking breaks and I encourage you to do the same. Every few hours, stop what you’re doing (even if it’s working really hard on your Netflix backlog) and take a little walk. If you need some motivation to get up and get going, download an audiobook or some podcasts you love. The longer and more frequently you walk, the more you get to here.
Oh, and don’t forget a walking buddy!
4. Find Some Exercise You Love
I hate working out, but I love the way that I feel when I’m living a healthy lifestyle, so you can find me begrudgingly lifting weights at least 3-4 times a week. Lifting is the only form of working out that doesn’t make me hate my life (plus, it’s giving me some sick guns). I try to do some form of cardio once a week too, but that often devolves into reading or scrolling through Facebook while slow walking on the treadmill. The bottom line is, you won’t find me at Crossfit or classes where burpees are a possibility. These things make me irrationally angry and that’s not how working out should feel.
Roy on the other hand, loves cardio. While he’s no longer a professional runner, he still enjoys it and loves our trips to the park. If he feels like it, he runs. If he doesn’t, he’ll walk and socialize. In fact, this takes me to Roy’s last self-care tip….
5. Don’t Be Competitive
Roy retired from the racing life at only two years old. I watched his racing videos after adopting him and the reason for his early retirement became clear: he did not care for competition. While every other hound clustered on the inside rail, my dopey dog trotted alone by himself on the outside. He managed to win a few this way (he is incredibly fast), but he did not have a competitor’s spirit. Learn from him.
Don’t compare your summer vacation photos to others on Facebook or Instagram. If you get back to school, only to find that your coworker lesson planned an entire year, read a ton of books, and managed to volunteer in a third world country, don’t feel like you wasted your summer. Your summer should be spent doing whatever is going to make you happy; forget anything else.
If you’d like to connect with Roy more, you can find him on Instagram @roythegreyhound. Please comment with the self-care lessons your teacher’s pet has taught you!
Looking for more self-care tips for teachers? Read about the one thing students need from you most!