It's that time of year again.
For all who are getting ready to go back to school, (or are already back) I created a "very special" Back to School Meditation for Teachers.
As I write this, I am now at home after an all-day, off site professional development training with all the certified staff at my school. The details of the training itself aren’t particularly important. What is important is how I felt by the end of the day: really, really tired.
Have you had the dream yet?
You know the one. It happens in the final weeks of summer, before teachers have to report back to school. For some reason, they come sooner and sooner for me every year. I haven’t had it yet, but I can sense it in the distance, like the faint, high minor chord of a horror movie soundtrack.
It’s around this time of the summer that everything hits its peak: the celebrations, the travel and activities, and the heat. For those of us who allow ourselves to think about it, the beginning of July is also the marker that summer is halfway over. While it would be very easy to expend energy bemoaning this fact, instead I’m going to try to reframe this as a reminder to savor the time that remains and celebrate all the summer and vacation-related things I feel passionate about. Which brings me to July’s theme: passion.
Ah, summer mornings. As an educator, odds are you don’t need to wake up to an alarm or jump out of bed to get to work this time of year. If you do, it is by choice. Whatever your summer mornings look like, I would like to offer some ideas about how you might further indulge in the pleasure of lingering in bed.
Summer is upon us and it is beautiful. Whether you’re travelling or enjoying a “staycation” of sorts, being off from school is truly glorious. (Can you tell I’m really excited about it?)
As educators, it is our opportunity to rest and recharge after another school year. As I hear from my colleagues, summer isn’t time “off” from work, but instead can be seen as the cashing in of all the physical and emotional overtime put in on evenings and weekends throughout the year. So here we are, enjoying this opportunity to truly take it easy.
The path to simplicity begins with a refusal of the nonessential and unproductive.
It's been several decades since Americans were first introduced to the idea that they should "Just say no." While the context of this was originally about saying no to drugs, I believe this recommendation has even greater potential for those of us looking to simplify our lives in one way or another. In my ongoing effort to simplify my life, I have found that there are two general categories to which I offer a steadfast and gracious "no" when I can: nonessential external demands and unproductive internal beliefs.
It is important to emphasize that saying no is not negative or selfish or uncaring. Instead, saying no to one thing is equivalent to saying yes to what is more important to you.
I've recently noticed a particular hashtag coming up more and more on my social media feeds: #radicalselfcare. Typically, there is a picture of someone cheerfully cooking a healthy meal, or the inviting-looking pool in which a person is about to swim some laps. This idea of boldly and aggressively taking action to care for oneself and prioritize wellness seems to be gathering momentum, and I am a wholehearted proponent of it.
Everyone is different, however, and what constitutes self-care for one person may not be the same for another.