You’ve got one of the most demanding jobs on the planet. During the summer, it’s tempting to start planning for next year right away, but research says that taking a break is important. Here are a few ideas:
Connect with your loved ones
You expend so much energy on other people’s children. Your break is a good time to really engage with your family, your friends, your pets…or maybe it’s simply silence you crave. Connect with the people (or pets or plants!) who make you happy. Watch this Ted Talk with Robert Waldinger to hear about the study that shows the impact of relationships and health.
Take a break from tech
This year may have been extra tech heavy. It’s healthy to take a break from technology. Why not become unreachable for a while? Take some time away from screens to look at life from a different lens. The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley has some research about the benefits of taking a screen break.
Escape on a vacation
This year, a vacation might mean sticking closer to home, but it’s healthy to get out and explore new places. Research shows that a change of scenery (on vacation or on a stay-cation) can help you break some “stress cycles” to rest, recuperate, and remind you about some of the simple wonders of the world.
Do things you haven’t had time for
This might mean creating and tackling a short checklist of things you want to accomplish. Organizing the garage, painting the basement, or dusting the bookshelf—studies show that knocking out the small tasks you haven’t had time to do throughout the year might boost your sense of accomplishment and reduce stress.
Return to what inspires you
It may have been a while since you wrote out a list of “I want to…” statements. I want to read a book. I want to wander in a museum. I want to listen to great speakers. Whatever makes you feel happy and inspired, commit to doing more of it this summer. Harvard Business Review has some research about how important inspiration is.
Meander aimlessly (and do other “non-scheduled” things)
There’s a lot of research on the stress of over-scheduled kids. But it’s real for adults, too. Check out this article on the importance of having some unscheduled time. One simple idea? “Free walking” can improve creativity and cognition. Walk without purpose and let your mind and body wander. Know that the time you’re taking to move your body without a schedule or a plan is actually improving your brain.
Share your ideas for resting on Facebook and see how other education professionals take time for themselves during the break.