HELLO Summer! It's so nice to turn off those alarm clocks and put that teacher bag down, isn't it? Each summer I find myself struggling to figure out what I want to do each day. During the school year we have our routines, schedules, and timers to keep us on pace, and then BAM, it's summer vacation and I'm all over the place because I have so much time and not much to actually do. Last summer, I dedicated a lot of time to my self-care toolkit and routines. While I know we all love a bit of free time, it's awfully difficult to get back into a routine when the school year begins. Why not establish personal routines to streamline your life NOW so that you don't put yourself on the backburner when the school year begins?
My hope is that you will be able to grab ideas from the following sections and create your own routines that will then be carried into the next school year. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. The summer is perfect to try something new that will help simplify your school year.
Wake Up- Consider your actions as soon as you open your eyes. Are you reaching for your phone to check emails or social media notifications? Are you completing a daily meditation or devotional to jump-start your day? Consider trying a new wake-up routine that will benefit your mindset and mental health over the summer. That way, when the school year begins, you'll already be in the habit.
Getting Ready- Assess every single step of your getting-ready routine. This includes washing your face, brushing your teeth, showering, doing your hair, and makeup. What do you find yourself thinking about during this routine? Are you listening to music or the morning news? Maybe even a podcast or motivational talk to prepare for your day? Think about what you need to hear early in the morning in order to set yourself up for success for the rest of the day.
Getting Dressed- Research says that teachers make more than 1,500 decisions EACH DAY! You don't want your inability to pick out an outfit to be the "thing" that ruins your day. Try picking out your clothes in advance. This can be the night before or the Sunday before your workweek begins. You can also repeat outfits each day to avoid decision fatigue. My colleagues and I have 'Olive Green Tuesdays,' which started when we noticed how we all repeated our olive green pants on Tuesdays. Over the summer, spend some time organizing your closet so you know what pieces of your wardrobe you'll have to work with next school year. It can also be a great time to purge and make some donations.
4. Breakfast- I finally started eating breakfast each day in 2020. Sad, but true. Many breakfast routines are simple and quick. Fruit smoothies and overnight oats are great options to prepare the night before and super easy to grab when heading out of the door in the morning. Also, be aware of what you're doing while you eat. Are you focused on checking emails or worried about a work meeting? This is where focusing on your food and mindfully allowing your thoughts to pass through your mind can be extremely helpful. Eating breakfast is a simple and easy routine to begin over the summer.
5. Cleaning- Create your own cleaning schedule for your living space. During the school year, we may not have time to deep clean the baseboards and shampoo the carpets, but the summer gives us plenty of time to catch up. I am not saying to spend your summer deep cleaning your space, but you could consider assessing what high-traffic areas need your attention and how often they need to be cleaned. Think about how you can begin a cleaning routine that can easily continue into the next school year.
6. Something Special- Do you have a "just for me" routine? This may be my favorite routine because it is dedicated to pouring into your own cup. Think of a weekly act that is just for you. This could be a dance class, Starbucks run, journaling, or even a quick nap. A former colleague of mine used to get Pizza Hut, a 2 liter of Coca-Cola, and a movie to have a date night with her husband every Friday. It was the sweetest gesture and something they both had to look forward to each week.
7. Your Evening Routine- How do you wind down? Are you bogged down with thoughts from things that happened earlier in the day? Are you worried about something that did not go as planned or anxious about what is to come? Do you have a nightly skincare routine? Recently, I have started doing a brain dump in a journal before going to bed. This helps me clear my thoughts and reflect on how I am feeling. I have also started limiting my screen time before bed and instead, reading a book of my choice.
Habits and routines are not formed overnight. They are intentional and can benefit your mental health. After this school year, personal routines and self-care are absolutely necessary for teachers. Let me know what new routines you're trying to streamline your life. Thanks for reading!