"What are you doing this summer?"
This is my first blog post to encourage you to #getyourguruon. It's summer, and we as teachers, get this time to rest and renew. BUT what does that look like for you?
All to often I've squandered, or felt like I've squandered, my summer vacation in the dark bedroom where I feel safest. Also, I'm really freaking tired after the school year and sometimes I could sleep for days.
Some other readers may have children, and as school won't keep you busy, they sure will! We can often overschedule ourselves, or fill our schedule with our kids' priorities, but not our own.
There is little resting and renewing during summer break for most teachers.
Let's change that.
This month we'll explore ways that will help you process your school year (and more if needed), rest and regain your energy to GIVE (we GAVE all of ourselves and attention to our students all year, we have to GET that back!). We'll also explore common traps that keep us feeling tired when the school year starts.
First, I'd like to start by encouraging you to recognize BOTH the PRESSURE you're putting on yourself to enjoy, relax and renew this summer (it seems counterintuitive but trust me... teachers know how to stress-out about fun) and the GUILT you know you feel when you're school-breaks don't meet your expectations.
Often, we want to shut out the school year and "take a break." We'll feel guilty when school stuff pops into our minds. We'll get angry when we get that email (but you didn't take your work-email off your phone now did you, Claudia?).
Last year, I was on a beach in Thailand and I watched this dude meditate for like hours ... when he got up I asked him how he could turn off his mind for that long- I often struggle to quiet my mind. He said, "There should be no struggle. You're having the thoughts you were meant to be having, have them. Then let them go."
Seriously, he said that to me and then walked away to get a Thai massage. I was shook. What do you mean? I'm supposed to be secretly crazy and obsessive?
YES. It's healing.
This message started showing up for me everywhere and it's the concept of making space. Making space for more than one thing to exist. I want to quiet my mind AND I need to make space for the fact that I need to have some thoughts ....having the thoughts, experiencing them and letting them go will actually give me peace of mind eventually. If I struggle to stop these thoughts from racing through my brain, thoughts I need to have, they'll come back stronger. Think: Path of least resistance... let 'em be.
Also! Be kind to yourself, don't feel bad for thinking about school "all the time."
Now, about all things you've decided to do this summer:
Instead of putting pressure on yourself to do things, ask yourself how you'd like to feel this summer? at the end of the summer? before school starts? whatever... Frame your question how you'd like but make it about what you need or how you want to be.
This subtle change takes the pressure off of you doing so much. We often plan to work out everyday, cook 6 meals at home, have 3 happy hours a week with girlfriends, watch all the movies and read 100 books because we think this will make us happy (and sometime, we think accomplishment in our personal life will fill or balance the emotional hole we may have been neglecting all school-year).
Realize you just want to be happy.
Then, ask yourself, "what will make me happy today?" Then, DO THAT!
It sounds simple, but objectively, ask yourself how many times you've been miserable because you had already decided what would make you happy without actually asking yourself... that 6AM bootcamp was expensive AND YOU ONLY WENT TWICE.
You WILL notice some new and positive patterns emerge. You may work out regularly and eat healthy and enjoy it (ah, the 2PM spin works way better for ya? You better get it!) read that book and actually go to the pool. AND you'll probably feel less guilty about your naps and you won't be running yourself ragged. (I do my best post-reading naps at my apartment-complex pool).
Sometimes the things that make me happy can stress me out. I love to travel; but planning the perfect trip is a cycle that leads to stress and anxiety that I know all too well... I have even experienced guilt after going half-way around the world because I didn't see one certain temple (totally discrediting the entire rest of the trip!).
"You can't see everything." and "Wherever you are, be there." are two quotes and mindsets that help through my travel stress. There will always be a reason for me to return somewhere; how beautiful that a foreign place can capture my heart. How egotistical for me to think that I can experience all a place has to offer, even in one lifetime. By being present where I am, I can truely experience what'll make me happy at that time ...and that leads to the feelings I travel for. I travel because I get to be the truest version of myself-no expectations because nobody knows me. I love to learn and I love to experience new things. I love to see things in-person and feel what it feels like to be in a place I've only seen in pictures and film. It makes me feel alive and free. When I'm racing to catch a boat or see my 31st landmark that day- I don't feel so alive or free.
So what do you need this summer? How do you wanna feel?
Recognize where counter-intuitive patterns are at work in your own summer habits and happenings, then choose to BE instead of DO.
And the next time someone asks you, "what are you doing this summe?" say, "ME!"