Having to tell someone how to actually start a season may seem odd, but if you know educators, then you might know someone who needs this advice. We are in schools at least 9 months of the year, and at the end it is sometimes hard to say goodbye to our school year selves. In fact, I have a friend who swears she has multiple personalities…one for the academic year and one for summer.
Over the years, I have suffered from this very syndrome myself and can find it hard to gear down and recharge despite knowing that is exactly what I need to do. If you suffer from this, these are for you:
1. Breathe. Breathing helps you become present in the moment and it also forces your head to connect with the rest of the body. And the more you mindfully do it, the easier this becomes. Taking a moment to stop and breathe deeply when you get that anxious feeling that you forgot something important so you can remind yourself you are done for the year. Done.
2. Clean up and out. If you are in the classroom, you have to pack up anyway so take time to go through the process of throwing things away, filing things correctly, and putting them as close as you can to where they belong. If you are not in a classroom, this is still a good time to take inventory and do some organizing. This process brings closure to the good, the bad and the ugly of the academic year and sets a clean(er) slate for the upcoming year. Say goodbye to all that junk and hello to summer with an end of year clean-out!
3. Start something new. You can make a summer bucket list or begin a 30-90 day habit. Either way, take time to consider what you would like to begin so the season has a definite beginning to it. This is a signal to your mental and emotional self that things are changing and you get to work in a different way. This type of work can feed you just as much as the hustle bustle of the school year, but its more internally focused. Turning our focus to ourselves is critical if we plan to take care of anyone in the near future, including students.
4. Celebrate. This can look many ways, but it is important to celebrate the wonderful season of summer because it is just that- wonderful. You can join a friend at the movies, eat lunch out, hike on a Tuesday, finally try a new recipe, drink coffee for an hour while reading, go to the familiar vacation spots or consider going off the beaten path. Whatever you choose to fill your extra time with needs to be celebrated. Celebrations force us to be present in the small (or big) moments and in some cases create traditions that deserve to be repeated. At the end of the summer, you will not regret this.
So if you are reading this and don’t know where to start, then write it down or tell someone. You can post your new item(s) and celebrations on a sticky note, in a journal or talk to your entire book club. Whatever you do, give yourself the gift of a purposeful summer. Your relaxed and recharged self is your best self to start the academic year. Give yourself permission to create your best self over the next few months. And start now.