Teaching Profession Opinion

Teachers, This Is Your Permission Slip to Relax

By Starr Sackstein — February 23, 2017 2 min read
Young woman relaxing at home with cup of coffee lying on couch with her feet kicked up
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This year, starting over has kicked my butt.

As if beginning a new job, with a new position wasn’t enough, it has been a challenging personal year too. Essentially it has been the perfect storm of potential worst-case scenarios.

And I can generally take a lot.

And I hold myself to a ridiculously high standard. Let’s just say the “recovering perfectionist” moniker I’ve given myself isn’t just an ironic pithy title, it’s a way of life and since I’m “recovering” I struggle when things don’t go my way.

Getting good at something takes time and staying sane while you do it takes time, too. That’s why when there’s a school break, it’s essential to actually take time to rest.

I probably sound like a hypocrite now because resting and taking time for myself is even harder for me than managing the work that I do. Not sure why, but actually doing nothing produces guilt in me and I suspect in others too, but I’m working on it.

So, over the course of this break, I’ve actually practiced taking some time for myself. Disconnecting from social media except to share the photos from my walks in the park on Instagram or Facebook. I even spent half a day sitting on the couch doing close to nothing.

Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to do nothing so we can clear some space inside our heads to be awesome again.

This is what I’ve done so far this break in order to be really ready to go back to work next week:

  • The alarm has been shut off and I’ve been waking up later. Now for me, later is still before sunrise, but it isn’t 4 a.m. which is pretty awesome. I’ve even stretched my bedtime because I know I can wake up earlier.
  • I’ve gone to a park to walk every day and took time to actually take in the sounds and smells of nature which helps me clear my head.
  • I’ve gone for some drives without a particular destination in mind. Enjoying the music or the news and then just stopping in scenic places, notebook in hand and did some reflective writing to purge some of my “stinkin’ thinkin’”.
  • I’ve made time for friends, getting to the zoo or going to brunch. We’ve taken some walks together. It has been nice to talk about life and not school.
  • Caught up on all of my DVRed shows and took a mental holiday there too which has been enjoyable.
  • Given myself some time just for quiet so that my heart could heal, and my head could settle.
  • Went to see La La Land by myself and ate some good food.

Running around all the time has its purpose, but sometimes a real vacation from it all is necessary to just catch up on sleep. So, give yourself permission to take a break and if you can’t give it to yourself, take a permission slip from me.

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.