The summer holidays are here! (Or at least you can see the tip of them) – so how exactly do we switch off?

If you’ve been at it like a bull-at-a-gate, as you know my Nana used to say, it can be really challenging to switch gears.

In this blog I share my key ideas to making the shift.

1. Put your own oxygen mask on (before helping others).

As educators, we tend to be very caring people, and we often put other people first, but as they say on the planes – put your own oxygen mask on before helping others to do so. It’s a difficult lesson to learn, but if we are running on empty then we are not as effective at being there for our students.

The breaks are important for us.

Guilt is something I struggle with – especially when working with students who I know might not be having the most positive holiday (see my blog Happy Holidays – not for all), but knowing that filling my well during the break will help my students on our return gives me the permission I need to let go a little – as my mindset coach Denise Duffield-Thomas has taught me: I serve, I deserve.

2. Celebrate!

Mark the end of the year – let the mind know that there is completion- switch off the auto-pilot! Find a way to do this that works for you, some ideas:

  • Write out a page of achievements that you/your class/your school accomplished this year.
  • Chat with a colleague – each of you list your achievements
  • Go out for a meal, take a spa day, take a long country walk…

3. Technology-free time

I would like to introduce you to my phone:

It is a trusty Nokia Brick (one week’s battery time!).

I’ve never had a touchy-feely phone – my friends used to laugh at me about this, but interestingly I am finding an increasing number of people expressing their interest, mainly because with the Nokia Brick you get to choose your own internet time – the rest of the time your mind can relax.

4. Remember what fun used to be!

Think of the activities you used to enjoy as a child. Write them out, put them in a jar and pick one out when you find a spare hour/afternoon – do it – quick, before you think of something else more boring that you ‘should’ be doing. Some ideas:

  • Do a culture trip -library, gallery, museum
  • Get physical – swim, run, play volleyball,
  • Build a sandcastle/den
  • Get artsy – knit, sew, collage, paint

5. Schedule a pocket of complete time off.

Whether you can take every Tuesday off or a full-blown week find a spot in the 6 weeks to completely stop. Again, this helps appease the mind if you can negotiate with it –“Mondays I’ll work, knowing Tuesdays are mine.

Last year I took my longest every time out – 3 ½ weeks doing a Trusted Housesitters placement – I looked after someone’s pets and they let me stay in their house near Tunbridge Wells – all for free.

Which bit of time can you commit to?

Still not switching off?

Connect with me on Twitter @adelejbates or down below, and let me know your challenges, or share your own winning winding down tips.

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