The end of school looms close – but not close enough. Exhaustion permeates every classroom and staff room. Summer taunts us with warm sunny days and yet we remain trapped in school. I can hear my American friends giggling.
Every year, educators and students alike, in all parts of the world, must persist till the final bell rings. For twenty-five years I too have found myself with a diminished sense of humour, reduced patience and increased anxiety over what needs to be done in the time left. Will I ever learn?
Refueling our bodies and minds seem to be considered a luxury for many of us. Too many times I catch myself trying to, “push through exhaustion and stress because I will relax when the holidays arrive.” Can you relate?
The problem is that we end up so tired and overwhelmed that we don’t enjoy the homestretch to the summer holidays. Students wear on each other’s nerves, educators lose their cool as the “to do” list multiplies like bunnies!
Do any of the following sound familiar? I don’t have time to get a massage, go to the gym or go to bed early. I cannot afford to enjoy a walk at lunch time. There is no time and I am too wiped out to teach relaxation and meditation to my students.I just need to get through this week and then I will….
If so, it is critical that you adjust your mindset as this is the only thing you can control.
1. Exercise and stretch. Even a walk at lunch will release endorphins that help give you a feeling of peacefulness. Further, it gives you time to clear your mind of all worries. You will be doing something for yourself, and no one else.
2. Approach your To Do list with an attitude of accomplishing 2 to 3 important tasks today. Doing so, mentally relieves the pressure valve and reduces stress hormones…and you will most likely get more done!
3. Use funny videos or stories in your classroom at least once a day. Laughter really is the best medicine! (It lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, boosts your immune system, releases feel good hormones (endorphins) and so much more. You and your students NEED to laugh everyday!!
4. Catch your negative thinking and turn it around. This too shall pass. I will do what I can and be content with that. I allow myself to recharge rather than running on empty. I do one thing at a time. I celebrate the growth of each student and myself.
5. Fuel your body with healthy nutrition. Raw veggies, fruits, water and protein will feed your body what it needs to stay happy, focused and healthy during the last few weeks of school. As tempting as sugars and starches are, they will only serve to deplete you of the nutrition you needs most. This is NOT the time to skip breakfast, snacks and meals or to load up on caffeine. End the race healthy and ready to relax instead of being ill.
This is hardly exhaustive but, hopefully, it will trigger something inside each of us who works in education. We need to allow ourselves to recharge in small increments so that we are able to enjoy the last leg of the journey.
Be well. Take care of yourself!