Summer Self-Care

Kristen KoppersBlog, Reflect Better, Self Care Better, Teach Happier


  • After an unprecedented year, the time for self-care is now here!
  • Though it may be difficult, don’t let summer determine how and when we have time for self-care.

Summer Self-Care

May 29, 2021 marked the end of my twentieth year in education. I first started in education as a substitute teacher, then became a part-time teacher, and then went full-time. Finally, I started to relax instead of being focused on grades, assignments, calling home, and most importantly, sitting for hours on end teaching using a computer. The fact that I was a remote teacher 100% of the time this year mentally and physically exhausted me. Students were not interested in their screens; screens remained black with little to no participation.

The time for self-care is now here!

Ultimately, I found the time to sit and read, something that I have missed in the last few years. I did not feel the pressure of lesson plans anymore; without all of this, I found myself working out more in the mornings or taking a long bike ride just to clear my head. On the other hand, the days that I worked out before class started, it was a balance of timed workouts, ensuring my son was ready to catch the bus, and preparing for the day of teaching. Now is the time for self-care!

Ultimately, I found the time to sit and read, something that I have missed in the last few years. I did not feel the pressure of lesson plans anymore. Click To Tweet

View from the bike trail

Just the other day, I was ready for another morning bike ride. I put on my workout gear, gathered my AirPods, checked my watch, and opened the garage door to start the day. The morning breeze affirmed that it was a good day for a solo ride. The music started (I have a certain playlist for my rides), and I peddled through the bike trails. One trail led to another. With the school year ended, time did not justify my route.

Instead, I just let nature take control of me.

It was time to get to the point of completing my own sprint triathlon; my two friends started a sprint triathlon team, so I joined them to participate in ⅓ of the triathlon, riding 22K (approx. 13.67 miles). This was a big step for me as I was not an athletic person. I started to turn all this around to better myself, my mind, and my body. It had to start with me. 

I started out slow with only taking rides between 3-5 miles a day. First it was the trails, then it was street and gravel. It was not until recently that I attempted to ride the hills. After a morning of riding, I was able to reach a personal goal of 11.3 miles in 60 minutes and 45 seconds. Never would I have thought that I could do that or even get that close. The morning bike rides gave me time to think about everything. It gave me the power to focus on myself; the chance to spend the time alone with my thoughts and feelings.

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We often talked about self-care. Of course, did we really mean it?

I know that I have done that. Believe it or not, it is difficult to have self-care while teaching throughout the year. I’ve tried. My workouts were a continual part of my morning routine; I felt other things were on my mind. This stopped me from completing workouts. However, this all stopped once school ended. My morning workouts and bike rides are now about me. 

Emotional, physical, and mental health, for me, have been a struggle in recent years. The anxiety and stress were too much. Despite what others said, I felt overweight, neglected by others, and alone in the education world. My mental health impacted my emotional state which led to a decline in my physical health. 

After all, we need to think about ourselves. We all have past times where we feel removed from everything around us. We cannot let just the summers determine how and when we have time for self-care. 


Kristen Koppers is a blogger, presenter, self-published author, and high school educator as well as an adjunct teacher at the local junior college. She has been teaching for more than fifteen years and is currently teaching high school English in Illinois. She is a Google Certified Educator and National Board Certified Teacher. Kristen has a master’s degree in English and a second in Education Administration.

Kristen wrote the book Differentiated Instruction the Teacher Profession as a way to share her ideas of how to use Differentiated Instruction inside the classroom. As an educator, it is important to find innovative ways to meet the needs of her students. Kristen is often on Twitter (@Mrs_Koppers) participating in chats and collaborating with other educators. It’s easy to share DI ideas on Twitter (#DITeaching).

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