- Teachers are in need of a summer break. While we are good at relaxing, we may not be as good at recharging.
- We can recharge if we commit to follow five steps for self-care: sleep, exercise, efficacy (intentionally build capacity), diet, and social connectedness.
I have heard more teachers utter this phrase in the past month than I can count, “I never do a countdown, but I am this year.” This year challenged (and hopefully changed) us more than any in recent memory. And therefore, teachers need this summer more than any other summer in history. So, let’s enjoy it!! But . . .
There is the danger zone. As humans, we tend to be very good at relaxing. We tend to not be as good at recharging. There are significant neurological and biological reasons why, but I will try to not bore you with those details. The bottom line is that as much as staying up to 2am binging Netflix, eating pizza, and sampling craft beers sounds amazing, it is most likely NOT going to help you recharge.
The good news is that we absolutely do know what will help you recharge if you choose to commit to these five steps to recharge your own battery. When in doubt with self-care, go back to planting S.E.E.D.S.—a concept Julie Adams, Rosa Isiah, and I wrote about in #FullyCharged.
These strategies may seem simple, but they are the cornerstones of self-care.
As the pandemic continues to wane, let’s be thoughtful about how we use our time. Let’s remember that time is a finite resource and we should live passionately and lovingly with those who matter most to us. Click To Tweet
Summer S.E.E.D.S. – SLEEP
Aim for 8 hours.
And before you start, I know you have been functioning on 6 hours for years. It does not mean that is what is best for your body. Also, this is just a reminder that as much as you love staying up late during the summer, remember how you always feel in September when you get back to the routine. Maybe think about moving your sleep cycle change up a few weeks this year.
Summer S.E.E.D.S. – EXERCISE
Everyone has 20 minutes in a day to raise their heart rate. It can be absolutely that simple.
If you are looking for a push, follow #fitleaders on Twitter and you will find like-minded people to connect with. The bottom line with exercise and deciding intentionally to move is that you must remind yourself that it is absolutely a CHOICE. You can choose to push yourself without a gym membership, a fancy stationary bike, or piles of weights in your basement. And if you are sincerely stuck, YouTube is your friend.
Summer S.E.E.D.S. – EFFICACY
Do you believe you are capable of great things and are you actively working to make yourself one percent better each day? If so, you are rocking this.
A secondary part of efficacy is the intentional building of capacity. For someone to always feel confident or believe that they will succeed in a given situation, they need the necessary ‘tools’ to do the work. So, while I know that many of us are simply wanting to unplug this summer, remember that investments in self are never wasted.
Summer S.E.E.D.S. – DIET
All ‘diets’ work—you just have to execute them. Remember: garbage in, garbage out.
I am not a dietician. I am not a nutritionist. Most likely, neither are you. But we still know the banana is better for you than banana cream pie and that the chicken breast is better than the chicken fried steak. Use common sense and attempt to view food as fuel. It makes a difference. Eat to live don’t live to eat.[scroll down to keep reading]
Summer S.E.E.D.S. – SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS
Connect INTENTIONALLY (put the phone away) with the ones you love the most and find ways to do work that connects to something larger than yourself.
This is an area many of us have been longing for. This is an area that the pandemic has quite literally ripped from the arms of many of us. As the pandemic continues to wane, let’s be thoughtful about how we use our time. Let’s remember that time is a finite resource and we should live passionately and lovingly with those who matter most to us. This concept will undoubtedly serve to fill our cups and fuel our batteries.
In closing, while this self-care does not sound as much fun as screaming out Livin’ on a Prayer as you close down a bar, trust me, it will work to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit much quicker. August and September will be here quicker than you can imagine. I hope you return to school #FullyCharged.
About PJ Caposey
Dr. PJ Caposey is an award-winning educator, keynote speaker, consultant, and best-selling author of eight books who currently serves as the Superintendent of Schools for the nationally recognized Meridian CUSD 223 School District in Northwest Illinois. You can find PJ on most social media platforms as MCUSDSupe.