Let’s admit it. December was hard. Really hard. The end of year season always seems to make students a little more rowdy and a little less controllable. You’re tired, they’re tired and it feels like it should be December 74th already. So whether you’re on a break yet or counting down the days, hours and seconds until the last day of school, here’s a quick guide to help ensure that you make the most of this well-deserved time off.
Whether your break is for a week, two weeks or six weeks, it’s not the length of time that matters, it’s how you spend it. If your plan is to spend the entire break doing a Marie Kondo style clean of your house, you’ll end up back to school in the exact same state of mind that you left it. During your time away from school, it’s important that you practice balance. I have a few tips and ideas to help you plan your break so you return to school rested, rejuvenated and ready to tackle a new year.
5 Ways To Make the Most of Your Holiday Break
1. Stay off social media and technology
Social media can be so beneficial. It provides us with fresh ideas for the home/classroom, inspires us and helps us connect. However, it also fills up all the tiny gaps we have in our lives that I like to call “white space”. It’s the space where you have nothing left to do but let your mind catch up with your life. Like when you stand in a line at the checkout or when you’re sitting on the train travelling to your destination. In this new tech age, we fill the little ‘white space’ we have left with our phones. We are constantly filling our brains with information. This holiday break, I challenge you to take a break off social media; delete your apps, sign out of your email account and keep your phone at home if possible. You will be amazed at all the extra time you have and the reduced mental load you will be carrying.
2. Schedule your time
I know you’re probably thinking ‘What? Why are we scheduling time during the break?’ Well, scheduling can make sure that you can fit in everything you want to do and not miss out on the important stuff. Including time for you. There are 3 different times you should schedule for during your break – personal time, life admin time and school time. I’m totally serious when I say to pull out your planner or a blank sheet of paper as soon as possible and work our your holiday schedule. Schedule in time for each of the three categories in a balanced way. Here’s a bit more information on the types of time:
Personal Time – This time is everything that relates to you and your personal connections. It’s family time, social time, self-care time and alone time. I suggest including a balance of ALL of these. Make sure to schedule some time just for you, even if it’s for half an hour.
Life Admin Time – This is where you catch up on all those niggly things that have been building up over the last few months. Clean that closet, make that appointment, wash those windows.
School Time – Setting some time aside to get school stuff done can be helpful in ensuring that you return to work without feeling overwhelmed. If you’ve ever heard people say that they feel as though they never even had a break on the first day of school, well doing a little school work on the holidays can help. It ensures that you aren’t inundated with a bunch of things to do when you return. However, it’s important to remember BALANCE. School time shouldn’t take up all of your break or even most of it.
3. Do something special for you
Plan one thing this holiday for yourself that you are excited about. It may be a massage, a hike in nature, a facial, a self-care evening or whatever will leave you feeling renewed. Personally, I love scheduling in something that I call ‘Self-Care Evenings’. Plus, no babysitter is required – just do it once the kids have gone to sleep. I cleanse my face, put on a face mask, paint my nails, exfoliate my entire body and then have a bath filled with Epsom salts, bicarb soda and lavender oil. I bring a book into the bath with me or a tablet so that I can watch some episodes on Netflix. The key to ‘Self Care Evenings’ is to create a serene atmosphere – dim the lights, light some candles, put on some soft music and pour yourself a hot tea. You might even find that you love this ritual so much that you do it once a month (or even once a week).
4. Keep a to-do list
Let’s get real. As much as you try not to think about school stuff, all the things you need to do are still going to crop up in your mind. A great idea is to keep a notepad nearby or even next to your bed (that’s when most of my ‘I need to remember to do this‘ thoughts come up). When a thought arises, just add it to your to-do list and know that future you will deal with it when the time comes.
5. Don’t avoid school stuff
I’ve heard some teachers say that they strictly avoid doing anything school related during break time (If that’s you and you manage to have a stress-free first week back, please share your secret). However, for most people, it’ll lead to having an anxiety-fuelled time. It really is all about balance. If you spend your entire break feeling relaxed, but then spend your first week back chasing your tail and juggling your to-do list like a human octopus, it’ll defeat the purpose of having a break.
I hope you enjoyed these tips. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday break and may you return to school rested, relaxed and ready to tackle another year.