As teachers, we are generally busy. If you ever see a teacher who rolls in right at the time for class to start and leaves as soon as the last child leaves, then you’ve basically seen Santa Claus. Teachers don’t just work a 9-5. Often, teachers are grading after school and on weekends, attending sporting events, and even taking graduate classes. Because a good teacher is a lifelong learner, you know.
But it’s important for teachers to remember to take time for themselves. I’m not talking family time or coaching Little League (although those are certainly worthy endeavors). I’m talking legit, “me time.” Time where it is, simply put, all about you. There are many different ways that you can spend this “me time” but here are some suggestions to get you started.
Enjoy some Netflix/Disney+/Hulu and chill. Go home after a long day and veg out in front of the TV. This might be easier said than done if you have kids yammering for your attention or a husband demanding dinner (I have neither of those so I wouldn’t know) but this is a great way to take some “me time.” Find a new show. Binge watch Grey’s Anatomy or The Flash. Rewatch a classic movie like The Lion King. Catch up on the latest episode of Manifest or enjoy some House Hunters reruns. Just turn your brain off for a bit and relax. You’ll thank me later.
Find a great book and lose yourself in the pages. Take a trip to Hogwarts, help save koala bears at FunJungle, discover your faction, even just read about the lives of famous people in a magazine. You’d be surprised how relaxing it can be to read – especially when you aren’t grading for capitalization.
Head outside. Now, for someone like me (read: unmotivated and out of shape), this is not my go-to activity to relax. But for some, it might be. You might enjoy hiking or biking or running when there aren’t zombies chasing you. So get outside. Take the dog, take the kids, take just yourself and explore that new trail you discovered. Unless it’s raining. Then, go back and read the paragraph about Netflix and chill.
Lastly, I encourage you to find a hobby outside of school, something that drives you and gives you a passion different from the passion you have for teaching. Something that, on the worst day of the week, can make you smile. For me, that’s volunteering at the animal shelter (well, now working at the animal shelter). On my worst days, I can go to the shelter and walk dogs and love on puppies and it always makes me feel better. Find something like that for you. Find something that makes you fired up and passionate. It’s easy to burn out in teaching. Find something that fans the flames of your passionate heart when teaching can’t.
I leave you with this. Teaching is tough. The hours are long. Burnout is real. Find something to keep you going. Get out and live your life. Papers can wait. Lesson plans can sit tight. You have to feed your soul so your body can keep going.
What are some ways that you keep going? What do you do in your spare time to ensure that you can make it another day? I’d love to hear about it! Hit me up in the comments!