Self-Care and the Holidays: Recharging over Winter Break

Now that we are in mid-December, attention is quickly turning toward the winter break. Teachers often look forward to the winter break as a time to unwind, recharge, and spend quality time with family and friends. How teachers spend their holiday breaks depends on their individual preferences, obligations, and specific life circumstances. In the past, I loved to dedicate at least one day of my holiday break as a day to myself. Depending on my budget and availability, I would treat myself to a fancy coffee, try cooking a new dish, or go for a long run. The times I dedicated to myself helped me recharge.

Taking time for self-care is an investment in yourself that pays dividends in various aspects of your life. If you need some specific ideas, check out our FREE course “Having a Full Cup: Self-Care in Teaching.”  To help you recharge over the break so that you enter 2024 refreshed, the Stride PD Center has a list of ways you can relax and make the most of your well-deserved holiday. You do not need to attempt every idea on the list but pick the one or two that mean the most to you. The critical aspect is that you find one and then implement it!

  1. Rest and Relaxation: 
  • Catch up on sleep and establish a healthy sleep routine. That extra half-hour of sleep can do amazing things!
  • Take daytime naps to fully recharge and rejuvenate. 
  1. Read for Pleasure: 
  • Dive into books, magazines, or novels that are not related to lesson planning or educational materials. 
  1. Travel or “Staycation”: 
  • Plan a trip to a new destination or simply enjoy a staycation at home. 
  • Explore local attractions or take a short getaway to unwind. 
  1. Enjoy Hobbies: 
  • Engage in hobbies or activities that bring joy and relaxation, whether it’s painting, gardening, cooking, or playing a musical instrument. 
  1. Exercise and Outdoor Activities: 
  • Take advantage of the break to go for walks, hikes, or participate in outdoor activities. 
  • Join a fitness class or try a new form of exercise. 
  1. Quality Time with Family and Friends: 
  • Catching up and creating lasting memories are gifts that last the entire year. 
  • Plan activities or outings that everyone can enjoy. 
  1. Mindfulness and Meditation: 
  • Practice mindfulness or meditation to relax the mind and reduce stress. 
  • Use guided meditation apps or attend local meditation classes. 
  1. Indulge in Entertainment: 
  • Watch movies, binge-watch TV shows, or attend live performances for entertainment. The only caveat here is this – do not let this take away from your sleep!
  • Attend concerts, theater productions, or other cultural events. 
  1. Pamper Yourself: 
  • Treat yourself to a spa day, massage, or other pampering activities. 
  • Take care of personal grooming and well-being. 
  1. Reflect and Set Goals: 
  • Reflect on the past year, both personally and professionally. 
  • Set goals for the upcoming year and make plans for self-improvement. 
  1. Cooking and Baking: 
  • Experiment with new recipes or bake holiday treats. 
  • Enjoy the process of cooking and sharing meals with loved ones. 
  1. Disconnect from Work: 
  • Set clear boundaries and avoid checking work emails or planning lessons during the break. 
  • Allow yourself to fully disconnect from work-related stressors.  This is a hard one for many educators to do, but it is important to have a clear mental and physical break.
  1. Holiday Celebrations: 
  • Embrace the festive spirit by participating in holiday traditions and celebrations. 
  • Attend or host holiday parties with friends and family. 
  1. Journaling: 
  • Write in a journal to express thoughts, feelings, and reflections.  You could even set up a photo journal where your pictures tell the story.
  • Document positive experiences and moments of gratitude. 
  1. Learn Something New: 
  • Take a class or workshop in a subject completely unrelated to teaching. 
  • Learn a new skill or hobby that piques your interest. 

Remember, the winter break is a time for you to get and enjoy a “break.” Make sure that you prioritize self-care and relaxation. Taking the time to unwind can contribute to improved well-being and a refreshed mindset as teachers prepare for the upcoming school term.  Even though you may still have a week or so of school remaining, plan how you will rest, relax, recharge, and refresh during the break. If you have other ideas for the winter break, please leave them in the comments section!

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