Ok let’s get real here. If you are anything like me you are spent the last day of school. I was so excited that it was summer break that I went to bed at 9:15pm. Hey, that’s life over here these days. The last day of school is always bitter sweet. Bitter because you learn to pretty well live with little humans for 180 days, care for them, love them, laugh with them…they become apart of your life. However it is oh so sweet to not have to annouce you are going to the restroom to ensure that no kids ask where you are, and you go months without hearing your name over and over again. But I find it really hard to indentify as someone who is not a teacher.
Let me explain a little further. I started working at at after school program when I was 18 years old, I was a preschool assistant starting at 22 and by the time I was 24, I was a co-teacher in the classroom. In 2013 I left my co-teaching position and was able to get a classroom all my own. So for the last 17 years of my life, I have been a teacher. What else am I? I am guilty of working in my classroom during the summertime as well and only going in “a couple of hours” to do work…but I do it a lot. That is okay, but I found that I wasn’t giving myself the rest that I needed. So I came up with 5 ways that we as teachers can remind ourselves that we are allowed to take a mental health day!
Mental Health Tip #1: Watch all the shows
I am all for a Netflix binge trust me BUT I really encourage you to watch the shows that YOU love. Not what your partner loves, or your kids like. Not mindless telelvision. I want you to get invested in these shows. I am a huge true crime addict (like, obsessed) so I am ALL ABOUT Forensic Files. Does my husand like this show? NO. Am I going to watch it anyways? You betcha. Part of remembering who we are aside from a teacher is we have to watch shows that we enjoy. Maybe you love to watch HGTV and browse how to update your kitchen, maybe you are a DIY sister and love to get messy. You do you sister. Don’t feel bad for it either.
Mental Health Tip #2: Do What You Love
This can be a tough one for some of us. Why? If you are a teacher, you love to teach. Which also means that you love to hunt for colorful items at Target, laminate, cut the laminating, organize centers, and prep for the upcoming year. I get it. I love that too. But do you know what else I love? Gardening and being outside. I love reading books that are not related to school, I love petting my cats, walking my dog, running, and I love a great bottle of wine on a random Wednesday because life needs to be celebrated people. Do you love to sleep? Then SELLP IN! Sister, I bet if you asked your significant other to take on the morning duties once so you could catch a little extra sleep they would say yes. Doing what you love is so important for our mental health.
Mental Health Tip #3: Socialize
Yes, get out there and socialize! I know that we are always so busy and say that we do not have time to see our loved ones and our friends, so now is the time to do just that. Even summer can be a busy time for us teachers but taking the time to call up a friend or meeting for coffee can be wonderful for our mental health. Being around other humans who we can conversate with is a big part of mental health. If you live far from those that you love, schedule a FaceTime with them so you can see each other when you chat. This can help you feel more connected with them and it can really make a difference.
Mental Health Tip #4: EAT!
As teachers we are SO good at eating while walking, standing up, running to the bathroom, talking on the phone and whatever else we could be doing. Multi-tasking is in our blood. I would be lying right now if I didn’t say that I want a snack as I type this blog post. However did you know that there are people out there who don’t have to eat this way? Can you believe it? They get to sit down – at a table! – and enjoy a meal with their co-workers. They do not feel guilty about it either. This is something I strive for. This is a big one for me in the summer as well. Here comes a confession: I made a promise to myself that I was going to eat lunch in the lounge with other teachers this year. Did I? NOPE. I did for a little bit and then it was sporadic followed by non existent. Why? I felt like I had too much to do. This is when the stress creeps in. Sis, you are NEVER going to get it all done. There is always going to be something on your To-Do list and you will always be striving to complete everything so let it go. When you are home I encourage you to put your food on a real plate and sit down to eat it. Enjoy the time that you have to eat your well balanced meal and think about how you can incorporate this into the school year.
Mental Health Tip #5: Count those Blessings
I am an avid Rachel Hollis fan as many of you know, and I will pretty well do whatever she tells me to do. I can say that because of her I have the courage to write these blog posts and the hope that I can help other teachers a long the way. I can say that I used to think that I was grateful, until I really started to dig deep with it and I realized that there is SO much more that I can be grateful for in my life. That is where the blessings came in. Count all of them. I use the Start Today journal that The Hollis Co. has and I have to say that I love it. If you do not have one, or you don’t want to grab one then you can listen to Episode 72 of their podcast Rise Together and learn how you can create your own. When I wake up in the morning and I write down what I am grateful for, my day changes. When you start each day with a heart full of gratitude your mental health is sure to change. I encourage each of you to start doing this. I guarantee you will see a change.
No matter what you decide to do to help your mental health this summer I hope that you do it for you! Connect with what you want out of your time off, and how you can get it. We can get anything that we set our minds to.
If you have any idea for a blog post I would love to hear it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get in touch!