Congratulations, you did it! Another year being of a superhero completed, and now it’s time for a well-deserved break. Time for you to recharge the batteries, relax and have fun! Now you’ve reached the holiday, how are you going to spend your six weeks off? If you need some ideas to keep you occupied this summer, or to help you manage the transition from work to no work, then read on.
- Go walking
Make the most of the good weather by going out walking. Keeping active during your time off is really important and being outdoors is great for your wellbeing. Walking is free, easy and can be enjoyed alone or with company.
- Read a new book or two or twenty
Challenge yourself to read a certain number of books. Reading is an excellent way to pass the time, in a relaxing way that still keeps your mind active. Not sure what to read? Head to Good Reads which gives you recommendations based on your favourite books.
- Try out some new recipes
With no marking to do in the evenings, why not use the extra time to learn some new recipes. Cook some dishes you’ve been longing to try, bake some cakes for upcoming events. This is a great time to experiment in the kitchen. If you’re unsure where to look for recipes, you can pick up free magazines from most supermarkets, or you can explore websites such as BBC Good Food.
- Get arty and crafty
You could make cards, knit, scrapbook, crochet, paint , sketch and more. Creating something is really fulfilling. You could make hand-made gifts for friends and family, or maybe even make some things to use in your classroom in September.
- Visit somewhere you’ve never been
Go somewhere you’ve been wanting to visit, but just haven’t had the time to. It doesn’t have to be abroad or even far away, just somewhere new to get excited about.
- Enjoy long breakfasts, lunches and dinners
No need to rush, take your time to enjoy your meals without having to multi-task or keep an eye on the clock. This will help you to make more healthy choices about food too.
- Treat yourself to a lie in
I know this one may be tough for parents, but if you can squeeze in a lie in, it will be a real treat. It’s good to make sure though that as you get closer to the end of the holidays, you get back in to a sleep routine. This will help you get good quality sleep once you return to work.
- Catch up with friends and family
Take the time to see friends and family you haven’t had time to see. All those people in your life who have been waiting for the opportunity to see you, or to spend time with you when you’re not distracted by work! Enjoy catching up over the phone too.
- Reflect on your year
Celebrate all your achievements for the year and consider what improvements you can make in the new academic year. Focus on what you want to work on, rather than what you feel others might want you to change.
Teaching is an active job. Sometimes I would lose track of when I last sat down for more than a few minutes. Going from that to 0, is not good for your body – plus, we know we need regular exercise for our physical and mental wellbeing. If you don’t want to spend money, you don’t have to join a gym or class, there are plenty of free apps you can use, or YouTube videos you can watch if you prefer exercising at home. Running or jogging are also great ways to exercise for free. Swimming, is a really good way to get a full body workout and in the hot weather you’ll appreciate the cool down! If you can find a friend to workout with, even better, as you can keep each other motivated.
- Binge watch a TV show or sink some hours into gaming
This may sound like a contradiction to my last point, but sometimes you just need some time to vegetate and switch off your brain. The key is balance. Personally, I found the first couple days of the holidays, I needed to be lazy. Activities like watching TV or playing video games, was about all I could manage, as I was so drained. After that, I could then get myself in to a more balanced routine. There’s no harm in finding time to catch up on your favourite TV shows that you’ve missed over the last few weeks, or to start that game you’ve had on the shelf waiting to play.
- Give yourself some sort of routine
The summer holidays can leave some teachers feeling a bit empty. You’ve gone from being so busy you can barely think, to having all this free time. It’s really important to combat this by giving yourself some kind of routine. It doesn’t matter what it is, but setting yourself activities to do each day will stop that feeling of pointlessness that can occur a couple of weeks in to the holidays.
- Pamper yourself
If you’re into pampering, now is a great time for bubble baths, pedicures, facials and more. Time the time to look after your skin which may have been quite neglected during term time.
- Try a new hobby or activity
You may find you like it so much you keep it up during term time!
- Take some free online courses
There are so many free online courses you can take. They don’t even have to be related to teaching, just something you are interested to learn more about.
- Head to the shops
Maybe you could stock up stationery or work wear for September, or maybe you just want to pick up some summer bargains. You could even just window shop. Shopping on a weekday is so much more satisfying than the weekend.
- Switch off from work
Turn off the emails, put down the planning and focus on you. Spend time with family and friends without thinking or talking about work. Not easy, but much needed.
- Prepare what you need to feel organised
Don’t worry about what work your colleagues have set themselves over the summer. What do you need to feel organised for September? Is it important for you to have all your displays up and ready or do you want to add to them as you teach new skills? How far in advance do you need to plan? Do you have any resources you want to prepare in advance? Just focus on what you need to feel ready.
- Keep your wellbeing in mind
The holidays are not the only time you should be looking after yourself. You need to keep doing this day in and day out. It’s hard; your job is all about giving and supporting others. But take some time during the holidays, to think about what you can do to take care of your own wellbeing. Maybe you want to set a cut-off time for working in the evenings? Maybe you want to seek some coaching for areas of teaching you find difficult? Maybe you want to spend at least 15 minutes in the staff room each day? Whatever you think will make a difference for you.
- Make the most of it!
Last but not least, make the most of your holidays. Don’t spend all your time working or thinking about work. Have fun, try new things, take time to relax, spend time with friends and family. Don’t compare your holiday to others. I know this can be tough. I’m guilty of holiday envy myself, but it doesn’t do you any good. Yes, maybe your colleague spent 3 weeks in New York, and you haven’t been on holiday, but as long as you’ve still had a good break, does it really matter?
This post was inspired by Mark Anderson’s ’60 Things to do this summer.’ If you want some ideas for how to keep children and young people busy over the summer, or if you want some more ideas for your own summer, head here: 60 Things to do this summer