Summer Plans: Transitioning from work to a vacation mindset

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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?

My name is Svjetlana Vrbanic—Lana—and I am a newly certified adult ESL teacher. I completed a degree in English and worked as a teacher and newspaper reporter/editor. Work has allowed me to travel from Labrador to Alberta and enjoy many great experiences. I was born in the former-Yugoslavia, but lived in Toronto most of my life. I can speak Serbo-Croatian, but primarily use English and love sharing what I know with students from all over the world. I like to have a good time and enjoy pursuing interests like cooking, running, volunteering, learning about health and psychology, and spending time with my niece, two rambunctious Jack Russell terriers, and a shy, but loveable cat. I am excited to blog about my experiences which will hopefully inform and entertain, as well as help support a vibrant teaching community. Wishing my colleagues many happy adventures in teaching.


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