With summer school wrapping up, I am having a difficult time transitioning from a work to a vacation mindset. Some people might not have a problem with this, but I do.
When the semester is finished, it is hard for me to stop thinking about my work and students. I am driven to come up with new teaching strategies, check my emails, and worry about my students’ continued learning.
I remember a comedy show where the worst thing they did to the character was to have them take a vacation. Sometimes, I feel like that, but I recognize the need for rest and the benefit of having a work-life balance.
Here are some things I try to keep in mind when I transition from the work to vacation mindset:
- I look forward to time off. It gives me a break and prepares me for the year ahead. My students and coworkers don’t benefit from a burnt-out teacher.
- Vacation gives me an opportunity to explore other sides of myself. I’m not only a teacher, but a daughter, niece, friend, writer, artist, runner, dog owner, etc.
Tips for the Transition Process
- Start this transition process when class has finished. The first thing I do is reset by meditating or having a nap.
- Keep your mind from turning to work, I notice and then transfer my attention to other enjoyable activities. For example, I might snuggle with my dogs or cook something. I might listen to my favorite music or take a walk.
- Go through school supplies and throw away anything that you no longer need. I clean, organize, and even make space for other interests, such as clearing shelves for art supplies or activity books.
- Place objects around to “pick-up,” like magazines, books, and art supplies, to serve as a reminder that, “Oh, yes, this may be a good time to sit and relax with these, rather than checking emails.”
- Keeping apps handy or social media pages, where you can explore your interests, serves as a reminder of all the other things that bring you joy and inspiration.
- Visit friends and family. Of course, people are very important as well. Ahead of time, I repeatedly announce to family and friends, that I am off in a week or so and available to do any activities.
Now, vacation is by no means a good time to overwhelm yourself with to-do lists. So be realistic. It is a time to relax and reconnect. Give yourself time. This requires winding down from your work life and it can be hard. Again, meditation is a big part of my routine. It helps me to notice how much I’m thinking about work and relax.
I will spend more time with my family and enjoy those experiences with the re-opening of the province. I may visit places I haven’t been to during the lockdown and see how the day unfolds. I have a feeling that I’ll do a lot of outdoor activities like hiking, walking, and exploring nature with my dogs. I may do some creative projects or spend more time cooking and baking while listening to podcasts or music.
I will open my eyes and enjoy the beauty around me. Our neighbourhood is brimming with flowers and interesting landscaping, as are the parks in the region.
I worry about my students, but time moves forward, not backward. Next semester will bring new students and new opportunities for old students.
I also worry about what is going to happen in September, but that is out of my hands. For now, I compartmentalize these worries and think of the things that I can do now.
I will have a positive mindset. Even if there are ups and downs, I will grab the good moments and treasure those most.
So, no doubt, I will have a good summer.
How about you? What are your plans for the summer? Do you have tips on transitioning from work to time off?