The holiday blues must seem crazy to someone who isn’t a teacher.
But I’ll tell you this – it’s totally normal to feel sad, underwhelmed or even a bit depressed during the long summer break when you’re normally so busy, productive and structured.
In this article I’m going to share a few ideas about how to deal with those feelings – I’m not talking about coping with depression as a mental condition – that’s much more serious for which you should talk to a professional.
These are a few ideas for staving off the holiday blues and making the most of our long summer downtime:
This is key to our lives as teachers, everything we do is signaled by bells or schedules. So, when that final bell goes at the end of term, we don’t really know what to do with ourselves. For a few days that’s great – lying in, reading that pile of books and watching TV – but after a few weeks it does become difficult. For all the days I’m at home, I’m imposing a routine on my life. I’ve set an alarm every morning and will go to a local cafe and write for two hours – just having some activity first thing is enough to stop that “no reason to get up feeling.”
CHALLENGE: Set your alarm every day for a week and go somewhere first thing.
Yep, it’s the holiday – so you want to eat whatever you want. And, of course, that’s fine, you work hard and deserve it. But, do be aware that food affects your mood, lots of carbs make you feel sluggish, sugar and caffeine will give you a boost and then a trough, and alcohol – we all know the effects of a few beers in the afternoon. Of course, I’m not saying don’t do these things – just bear in mind that they will have an effect.
CHALLENGE: Cook something completely new, but with ingredients, you’ve sourced from local suppliers. Don’t go to the supermarket – get to that local farm shop or market and cook something creative and beautiful.
Similar to above, if you want to have the whole holiday away from the gym – fine! But be aware that may affect the way you feel. Possibly doing something slow and easy would make you feel good – get some endorphins flowing!
CHALLENGE: Walk, run, cycle and swim a total of 50 miles before the end of the holiday (that’s less than five miles a day).
Prepare for work
Some people like to do this – others don’t. I’m not going anywhere near the school during the holidays but I will do some planning and I will spend a bit of time reading about teaching to get ideas about how to improve my practice in the next year.
CHALLENGE: Plan a couple of engaging lessons around things you’ve done during the holiday. They could be based around a museum you’ve been to, a country you’ve visited or something you’ve seen. Your students will love the idea that their leaning links to something tangible.
Know that this feeling is temporary and totally normal
It’s important that you know what you’re feeling is totally natural, understandable and to some extent, everyone feels it. Try to accept that and take it in your stride, knowing how busy things will be when you do get back to work.
CHALLENGE: Make a note of these feelings so that you can look back at them next time you’re thinking about how crazy work is and next summer you can read them again to know how you’ve overcome them.
Have you tried any of these?
What would you suggest to stave off the holiday blues?