Does this sound familiar? Your summer break is starting, and you've decided that this is the year you're going to engage in some self-care. You've chosen just enough summer work to not sweat the bills, picked one or two professional development days to keep the old gray matter in shape, and are looking forward to relaxing time to rejuvenate and reconnect with yourself outside of the classroom.
Summer has flown by and it's time to get ready for school to start again and you can't figure out what you accomplished but it doesn't feel like very much and you're still kind of stressed out.
Break the cycle this year.
Down time matters. Self care matters. But your time is like your budget: if you don't pay attention to how you're spending it, you're going to be left with none left and nothing to show for it.
This summer, instead of thinking that you're going to "take time for yourself," commit to make time for yourself. Name it. Ask yourself at the beginning of each day what you're going to do that day to care for yourself, and ask yourself at the end of each day how successful you were. Don't generalize. If you want to do more yoga this summer, get those classes in your calendar. If you want to spend more time at the lake, schedule the time to do it. Check in with another loved one at the end of each day, to keep you honest and to build your network with others who might also need to be reminded take care of themselves.
You can still have swaths of unscheduled time in the summer. But choose to schedule some of it, regularly, daily, to tend to your own personal needs. If you make habit of caring for yourself daily over the summer, both the routine and the rejuvenation is likely to carry itself into the next school year and beyond..