· Take summer courses.
· Attend professional development events.
· Get a summer job to pay for bills.
· Teach summer school.
· Work on curriculum committees.
All of these sound great but I hope that you think about spending this time to recharge your batteries. This will help you keep from getting burned out and help you feel motivated when the new school year starts. Overstressing your mind and body will not make you a better teacher.
About 25 years ago, I lost all of my hair due to stress (which I didn’t know at the time was from stress so I thought I was dying). Finally after the doctors decided that it had to be from stress, I was told that my hair would never grow back. I decided to change my way of thinking/living and lead a healthier life. I began to exercise, take vitamins, eat healthier choices, and luckily my hair grew back. I hope you never face the trauma that I did during this time of my life but instead can learn from the lessons that I did. I have some suggestions which might inspire you.
1. Exercise – Exercising on a regular basis will make you feel better about yourself. It releases endorphins that help your immune system and improves your outlook on life. You don’t have to become a runner or weight lifter. Simply walking for a certain amount of time regularly will do the trick.
2. Read a book for fun – During the school year we come up with excuses why we have no time to do this. Now we have the time to do this and should make the effort. Sometimes it is good to escape the real world and let our mind rest from always thinking about work.
3. Do something fun that you have been putting off – sometimes it is just good to do something for ourselves and not feel guilty about it. You could go to a movie or travel somewhere, or visit someone.
4. Learn something new to do or make – it is fun and exciting to do this and when you tell your students what you learned, they will be inspired and you are a great role model. In fact, I start thinking during the school year what one thing I want to learn during the summer. For example, during summers I have learned how to:
b. roller blade (which was a dismal failure but at least I tried)
c. Set up a worm compost system.
d. Mat and frame pictures
5. Catch up with old friends – we keep putting off our friends until eventually they just fade into the background. Time is too short to lose track of our friends.
6. Write letters of gratitude – writing short notes to friends and sending it to them will make their day, make you feel good, and help you appreciate what you have. It is a major mood booster.
Photo credit: batteries by tomblois