It’s that time of year to de-stress! You’ve managed, taught, and enabled students to learn and grow all day for months and now you get some time away from the stress. It’s time to enjoy that much-needed, and well-earned, break. You may have plans to lounge on the couch, binge watch your favorite show, or go on a trip somewhere warm. Whatever the case, these tips may offer you some new ideas. If not, they will at least remind you of what’s to come!
- Do something you enjoy but never have time for during a regular week. Go to your favorite store during the middle of the week to avoid the long lines. Take your dog on a walk while it’s still light outside. Make yourself a cup of hot cocoa/coffee and enjoy it before it gets cold. Go skiing. Read your favorite book. It’s the little things.
- Catch up on sleep. We’d bet that you’ve dreamed of taking naps or sleeping in on a Monday. Well, now is your chance to fully embrace these dreams and make them a reality!
- Binge watch your favorite show. Netflix recently released their most watched TV shows of 2017. You could watch one of those or catch up on one of your favorites. Or go get your Hallmark Channel on! The movies can be pretty incredibly cheesy at times, but they’re great at spreading love and holiday cheer. There’s nothing quite like getting cozy on the couch or in your bed and watching TV to get your mind off of grading and lesson planning.
- Visit somewhere new. A new place nearby to eat in. A mini-road trip to a park or a neighboring city. A flight to somewhere you’ve never been before. You don’t need to indulge on a lavish trip to Hawaii to enjoy the benefits of travel and experiencing a new place.
- Spend time with family, but also remember to take some time for yourself. For most of us, holidays are about spending time with family and loved ones. While important, it can also drive you a bit crazy. Have a day or two marked in your calendar where you can block off the whole day. Maybe even turn off your phone that day. Make it a day for you and only you. Here are a few great ideas for how to spend those few days away from email and family.
- Keep time spent on work to a minimum. If you feel like you need to get some lesson planning or project work done in order to start the new year fresh, please do — but remember that the second half of the year has fewer vacation days!
- Keep some music going in the background. Who doesn’t like a little music in their life? Whether you are doing chores, cooking dinner, or reading, music can help create ambiance for any occasion. It is also a proven tool to help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. This is your time off. If you don’t want to do something, don’t feel obligated to say yes at every opportunity presented. Be selective with how you spend your time.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Be playful. Try some laughing yoga . Laughing yoga might look cringeworthy to most of us, but it may be just the thing some of us need to get out of our comfort zone. At the very least you will have a VERY interesting story…
- Create and share a gratitude list with your loved ones. How often do you share your appreciation for your family, friends, and loved ones? Tell them what they mean to you. It will make their day and help spread the holiday spirit of giving.
- Volunteer. It may not sound relaxing, but volunteering, especially around the holidays, can make you feel more connected and more involved with the community. You gain perspective and a sense of accomplishment. Not only are you giving back to those less fortunate, you are in many ways showing them that when things aren’t going well, there are people who care.
If you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed this holiday season, please know that this happens to many people. Know that you are an amazing, unique individual with a lot to offer the world. You matter. Here are a couple articles that could help you; Stress, Depression and the Holidays: Tips to Cope , Mayo Clinic ; Holiday Depression and Stress , Behavioral Health Services North. If it is more severe, please call the Samaritans 24-hour hotline at (212) 673-3000.
“What Do Teachers Really Do During The Holiday Break?” by Lisa Hollenbach
“10 Fun Ways to Rest, Relax and Recharge Over Winter Break” from ClassroomDirect.com
“9 Ways to De-Stress This Holiday Season” by Leta Shy
“7 Tips to Relieve Holiday Stress” by Connie Bennett