You have never entered a summer like this one! The last few months of the 2019–2020 school year were unlike any you have ever experienced. You faced huge changes, multiple states of emotions, possibly tons of new learning, and constant concern for your students, their families, and your own families. You likely even experienced the five stages of grief (denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance) over and over again. This might have made it hard to get enough sleep, exercise, eat healthy, and take care of yourself.
Now, school is out, the weather has gotten warmer, and it is time for you to recover, regroup, and recharge so that you are ready to face new challenges in the fall. To do this, start by engaging in some much-needed self-care. Think about creating a self-care plan or a self-care SMART goal (that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Design your goal with change in mind. Depending upon where you live, the current situation in your community, your personal health, etc., you will need to think about how you can recover, regroup, and recharge. You may still be in isolation at home, able to gather in very small socially distanced groups, or possibly able to gather in larger groups that are properly socially distanced. No matter your situation, you will find ideas and strategies below to help you meet your needs.
We are in a pandemic, and you likely just ended the school year teaching remotely. Take some deep breaths, relax, and use some of your time this summer to recover. Below are a few ideas to help speed along the recovery process.
- Try to sleep eight hours every night.
- If you have a hard time falling asleep, try listening to an audiobook, nature sounds, or sleep meditation.
- If the bright summer light bothers you, try using a sleep mask or getting blackout curtains.
- Eat healthy.
- During the summer, you may have access to all kinds of delicious seasonal fruits and veggies.
- Get outside.
- Walk or run.
- Ride a bike.
- Blow bubbles.
- Go fishing.
- Run through a sprinkler.
- Sunbathe (but don’t forget the sunscreen).
- Exercise (see many options above).
- Host a virtual dance party.
- Participate in yoga (socially distanced or virtual).
- Try a YouTube or Netflix workout video.
- Try some of the newer virtual-reality sports that are available or get out your old Xbox One Kinect or Nintendo Wii and play games that get you moving.
After recovering and starting to recharge some of your physical needs, it is time to recharge your social and emotional needs, as well.
- Read for pleasure.
- Find a comfortable spot indoors or outside and read by yourself.
- Engage in a socially distanced outdoor book club (bring your own lawn chair).
- Join or start a virtual book club.
- Listen to an audiobook.
- Try tools like Mind Yeti.
- Have a movie night.
- Host an outdoor socially distanced movie night.
- Host a movie-viewing party with Netflix Party.
- Learn something new.
- Have coffee/tea breaks with friends and family.
- Meet up and have a socially distanced coffee/tea break.
- Set up a virtual coffee/tea break.
- Create something.
- Build something out of Legos.
- Paint something. You can paint by numbers or focus on diamond painting.
- Craft. You can create and start decorating your back-to-school masks.
- Take pictures.
- Finish a puzzle.
- Try a new recipe.
- Have a game night.
- Play games with the people you live with.
- Have a virtual game night.
As you start to recover and recharge, your mind will inevitably start to focus on school and what will be happening in the fall. How might you regroup and prepare yourself for what is to come?
- Write your own journal or blog.
- Read other educators’ blogs.
- Extend your virtual Professional Learning Network.
- Engage in Twitter Chats.
- Join a Facebook group. (You might start with the AVID Educators Facebook group)
- Engage in webinars you find interesting.
- Participate in virtual conferences or online courses, like AVID DigitalXP™.
- Engage in learning that will help promote equity in your classroom.
- Learn a new practice or skill that will make next year better. Use previous resources from AVID Open Access.
- Reflect on the past year and think about what went well and what you would like to improve.
- Get organized.
As you regroup and start to plan for next school year, it will be essential that you plan with change in mind. There is no certainty about what school will look like in the fall. You will need to create a flexible plan that can work in a face-to-face, virtual, or blended learning environment. Think about focusing your energy and time on planning and designing lessons, activities, and assessments that could work in any environment. Also, continue to plan how you will make self-care a priority when school starts.
Extend Your Learning
- Summer Self-Care for Teachers: How to Relax, Recover, and Prepare for Fall (Resilient Educator)
- Summer: A Time for Teachers to Relax and Rejuvenate (TCEA)
- Top 12 Summer Tips for Top Teachers (Edutopia)
- School Staff Self-Care During COVID-19 (Hanover Research)