Have you ever caught yourself thinking ”I don’t have time to relax and do something else, I have so much work to do”? I know I have, numerous times in fact 🙋🏻♀️ and the truth is, when you feel this busy is exactly when you would actually benefit most from taking a step back from it all and recharge.
We live in a world of information, and taking time away from all the hustle and bustle of the world sure is not for everyone (hello fellow introverts 👋🏻). Regardless of your personality type, it is always good to take or make time for yourself in order to be your absolute best. The fact is, you will probably be in a better position once you have recharged a bit. By now you may be asking yourself how exactly this could benefit your busy work schedule, but hear me out, I know this struggle all too well!
The first problem can be finding the time itself to actually relax, and by relax I don’t mean to just put up your feet and watch the clock ticking, feeling anxiety build by the minute. No, it could be that you actually need to block out a part of your day in order to less the guilt you may feel. If you are a teacher, then you recognize the ebb and flow of the school year. Some weeks are packed with things that have to be done in order to make the rest of the year work, some weeks are more relaxed. True, some weeks it will be almost impossible both to take and to make time to do something else entirely, but prioritize yourself when you have the chance. It doesn’t have to be anything as large as booking a time at a spa (as heavenly as that might be), but perhaps taking a long bath or a relaxing shower can do the trick for now?
Moving your body is another great way to relax and unwind and the good news here is that even a short walk counts! Moving away from your desk and stack of papers (in whichever form they come…) is an excellent thing to do. Not only is it good to rest your eyes and sore shoulders a bit, getting the blood flowing more in your system will both boost your energy levels and lower that cortisol for you. If you have the chance, make sure to step outside for an extra boost in the form of fresh air and some vitamin D ☀️ During a busy day at work, try to take a short walk or take your coffee outside. The change of scenery can do wonders for how you view things. My personal go-to as far as workouts go is either taking a walk outside (with or without Pokémon Go active) or by doing some yoga at home. While the last option is not entirely without a screen, the screen serves its purpose in this case since it is the home for the apps and videos I use. A good choice, even without a subscription, is Down Dog. Another solid choice if you prefer to use YouTube as your source, is Yoga with Adriene where you can pick and choose a session that suits you that day. If you do wish to go down the road of actually making a purchase (or see it as an investment for yourself) my current go-to combining yoga and a resistance band is Total Body Challenge from Yoga Burn. Some weeks are definately more intense, but even a short 15 minute session does wonders for my mood. Another good option is to stick with your regular fitness app or wearable and there are plenty to choose from nowadays. I have retired my Fitbit for now (still searching to replace it), but I used Fitbit Coach and Fitstar Yoga for a long time. Nowadays I believe Fitstar Yoga is retired, but I don’t have a Fitstar Premium subscription so I can’t say for sure that it’s not a part of this package.
If you have more time on your hands take a day off altogether, a real one, one where you put focus on doing anything but work. It could be reading that novel you still have at your bedside table or picking up the guitar for the first time in weeks. Whatever you decide to do with your time, make sure it is not about work. Something that tends to happen (at least for me) when really putting focus on something else entirely is that you can take some of the things you do back to work eventually. By making your body and brain busy with something else, you may notice your focus improving as well as new ideas and solutions to problems you had popping up. A day like this is also excellent to develop your hobbies and interests, perhaps it is time to write that short story or pick up your paint brush again?
If you find yourself working too close to the familiar wall, then you might at some point reach the state of sitting down (by choice or otherwise) and watch the clock tick your time away. Being bored can sometimes be good and make us more creative, but other times it is a major stress factor and create more bad than good. But how can all this benefit your students? Well, a healthy teacher is more likely to have the energy to care for his or her students in the way you wish. A teacher full of energy is more likely to be able to create good lesson content, notice if students need something different that day and to take risks or experiment a bit more in their teaching practice.
Taking a step back and take time to recharge yourself, even when you feel you have no time to do so, is actually the best thing you can do for both yourself and your students! No, it’s probably not the solution every time – but the times when you are able to do this, you will notice and thank yourself afterwards. In the next post I’ll look a bit more into calendar blocking using Outlook, how I started using this the last semester and how this helped me stay more on top of the things I needed to get done. If this sounds helpful to you, make sure to subscribe to get notified when this post is published 😄⌨️