Most of you are in your last week of school before a much-deserved winter break. Many teachers claim that this week is one of their favorite weeks of the year, and I hope that you are able to find joy and holiday connection in this week, regardless of if you are virtual or face-to-face.
But I want to talk about 2021 for a second. You are probably coming off of the most exhausting semester you’ve ever had – not to mention frustrating and stressful! And while we are all ready for 2020 to come to a close, and we are anxiously awaiting the beginning of 2021, I think we can assume that January and February probably won’t look much different than November and December. So how do we prepare now to take on 2021 with a bang – thriving instead of surviving, and being the teacher that your students need and deserve?
Well, as you hopefully slow down for a minute, I want to give you 5 ways to prepare for next year:
- REST. Give yourselves designated times and permission to rest. Go to bed early, sleep in a little later, take naps (if you are a napper), watch movies, read books, and give your mind and body time to recoup!
- RECHARGE. Do things you enjoy. This is not optional. When we do things we enjoy, we feel energized, sharper and ready to tackle new things. Play games, work on a project that you’ve been putting off, get out in nature if weather permits, go for a relaxing drive and see something new. Many of your brains have been on overload solving new problems, learning new platforms, getting creative in new instruction, and pulling students along. You need to release all of that for a moment, and recharge.
- SEPARATE FROM STRESS: Does the news stress you out? Turn it off. Does scrolling social media make you feel icky? Remove it from your phone for a week. Are Holiday plans stressing you out? Set boundaries. This is a year, more than ever, that saying “no” is the norm! So take advantage of it!
- SERVE: What? Serve more? YES! I know that your day-in and day-out work is packed with serving. But from my experience, serving is the best way to recover – to heal, energize, recoup, and recharge. And it can be simple. It could be taking cards to a nursing home, taking care of a neighbor, delivering cookies to essential workers, or any number of ways that don’t take a lot of time or money, but make someone’s day, and therefore, make your day. And if you can pull in family, even better!
- REFLECT: Perhaps the biggest burn out is working hard with little to no reward. So it’s always helpful to take 10 minutes and reflect. What worked in 2020? Did you try a new strategy? Figure out a new way to connect? Realize that your students enjoyed a peek of your child or pet running around the living room? Figure out a new piece of technology? What didn’t work? Does it need to be tweaked or thrown out? Let’s not keep spinning our wheels or doing the same thing ineffectively! How will this reflection guide what you do to kick off January? Make a quick list. Other than preparing your mind and spirit, this will help you feel little more prepared. I would recommend you do this this week. Two weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, but it’s always good to take a moment to reflect while it’s fresh.
The bottom line is this: You’re a rock star. Whether you are in admin helping your teachers navigate through these changing times, or whether you are a teacher, working tirelessly to connect with and teach your students, you are doing your best. And that is good enough. But you have to take care of yourself. You are given the gift of a break, and you need it more this year than ever. You know your mind. You know your body. Get rest. Recharge. Separate from stress. Serve those who need it. Reflect in order to more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
Enjoy this break. Enjoy the peace. Enjoy the Holidays.
Thank you for loving kids.
You can always keep up with us on social media or at http://www.pressing-onward.org. 🙂