When I was in high school, one of my wise teachers suggested a few tools that I could use to feel calmer and develop more focus to be ready for the challenges in the upcoming year. As educators, we need to pay close attention to this advice to relax and rejuvenate for the next school year.

Summer has just begun with the first few weeks of family bonding and vacation trips. My typical summertime would include spending some time reflecting on my previous year, learning from it, and a few self-development opportunities to equip myself with tools to help me in the fall.

The past year has been an emotional roller coaster for my students, me, and my colleagues. As many of us will find it difficult to break free from our busy schedule, from the past year focusing mainly on our struggling students, it is essential to take a few steps to focus now on you. For many years as an educator, I have seen the summer just slipping away in anticipation of the upcoming academic year. I have heard my colleagues focusing on new technological tools that they are learning to equip themselves to engage better and putting together new strategies from the learnings of the past year. I would like to propose some self-care routines that educators need, to rejuvenate themselves to feel ready for their students in the fall. So here are some ways for self-care and to dedicate time to take a real break this summer.

Five ways to focus on self-care this summer:

1. Become aware of your stressors and find ways to de-stress: Over the past year, I have noticed several things that induce stress in my life, such as deadlines, time management, etc. Become aware of your stressors. Now focus on things that you can do to de-stress. For example, spending some of my time relaxing and meditating helps me manage my stress better. So, find a good time and a cozy corner to sit down and meditate for 5-15 minutes every day to de-stress. 

2. Affirm yourself and foster positivity: Being positive helps create a sense of optimism and self-encouragement. Positive self-affirmation has an impact on brain usage and increased neural pathways. I use heartful affirmations that help me affirm that I am happy, joyful, and grateful for all my life experiences. You will be amazed at how you feel by practicing daily affirmations for about 5 minutes.

3. Breathing with awareness and purpose: Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body and promote self-care. We breathe automatically to keep ourselves alive, but we often forget to breathe (which is also called shallow breathing) when we are stressed. I find that the more we take deep breaths, the better our hearts get at reacting appropriately to our environment. In addition, add a purpose to your breathing. I breathe in that which is good, needed, and positive for my self-improvement and breathe out that is good for others and the betterment of the global community.

4. Sleeping better and aligning with our circadian rhythm:  Your body functions better if you have had a good night’s sleep and align with your circadian rhythm. This rhythm is a system of physical and chemical changes based on the sun that occurs in your body during a 24-hour cycle. You might want to try adding a bedtime routine for yourself, dedicating some time to relax before bedtime, listen to music, and read a book to get a good night’s sleep. I use the heartfulness rejuvenation technique that helps to remove the effects of things that weigh me down and block my natural state of lightness. Perhaps, you would like to try that!

5. Goal setting through reflection to move forward: I always take some time during the summer to reflect on the past year, identifying the challenges and successes to connect within, for the upcoming year to aspire and inspire with my heart. It is essential to try and apply this reflection to guide you. True inspiration comes when the mind is calm and there is clarity in the heart-mind field. Through self-reflection, I cultivate a positive attitude of receptivity and the willingness to follow my inspiration. I use a journal (similar to the one used by the author in the link) to track my thoughts and use my heart to inspire me.

Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left by you- Katie Reed

I feel inspired to use this summer to relax and rejuvenate to be ready for aspiring students in the fall. It is crucial to start with self-care to help our students reach their fullest potential when school begins again. Happy Summer!