Summer holiday bucket list | Education Support
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Summer holiday bucket list

5th July 2018

Research has identified the vital importance of having breaks in the school,college and university calendar to allow teachers and education staff's emotional energy resources and psychological health to be restored. Dr. Paul Flaxman and his team at City University have done research in this area and the results showed that those who continued to worry and ruminate about work during the holidays were less likely to recover fully from the demands of the coming teaching. 

Also our YouGov research into the health and wellbeing of teachers during the summer holiday found that over 43% of teachers asked also stated that they find it increasingly difficult to ‘switch off from work’ during the holidays and 53% worry to a ‘large extent’ about the amount of preparation needed for the next academic year. 

So we’ve come up with a few ideas to help you make the most of your summer time off. There are many ways you can use this time off even though, yes, we know you’re probably not going to be able to be off duty for the entire summer break. But you’ll be off for most of it. So think of a wish list for ways you’d really like to enjoy this break from work. Here are just a few suggestions from us.

  1. Have a school detox
    For a real break you need to try to forget all about school, the head, your colleagues, the students, the work, everything. Okay so we know you’ll have some marking to do and preparation at some point, possibly exam results to return for. But for at least the first two weeks promise yourself a clean break. Don’t think about school or college at all. Avoid the school gates. You might end up driving past the school repeatedly just for the feeling of liberation but try not to!
  2. Get outside
    After all those months stuck indoors just getting outside can be immensely good for you. You could go on nature walks and take time to notice flowers, trees, shrubs, birds and wildlife. So often walking simply means rushing from one place to the next. Take time to spot what’s around you, wherever you like and whatever your environment. It’ll do you the power of good, it’s free and getting outside reduces depression and obesity.
  3. Treat yourself
    Self love may sound like a phrase that belongs in the 1960s but at the Education Support Partnership we believe that promoting well being starts with the self! So get a haircut, have a massage or put your feet up and crack open your favourite box-set with a box of chocolates on your lap! Have fun thinking of small every day ways you can treat yourself.
  4. Do a digital detox!
    If the thought of leaving your phone at home or not checking it whenever you get the chance fills you with horror - and fear - maybe it’s time to think about a digital detox. The summer break is the perfect time to make your devices your servant not your master. Read our top tips for a digital detox.
  5. Get more shut eye
    Managing classes of (sometimes unruly!) students is exhausting. And according to the Sleep Council almost half of Britons say that stress or worry keeps them awake at night. Don't underestimate the importance of quality sleep so for the summer holidays, the bed is a teacher’s best friend. Here are tips for a good nights’ sleep. Though don’t lie-in too long as you will have to readjust in September!
  6. Try a dry August
    You’ve probably heard of a “dry January” in which people go alcohol free to give their bodies a rest after the Christmas excess. But why not a dry August? If you’re one of those teachers who’s finding life very stressful in term time and you need a large glass of wine the minute you get in to unwind and then - admit it - two or three more before you go to bed perhaps a mini detox will do you the world of good? Just prove to yourself you don’t need alcohol to get through the day. You could do it for just a week, see how you feel. Then if you feel good, try it for longer. With so much to do during the summer holidays and it being generally a happier time of year a dry August may be much easier to do than a dry January when most of us are at our most miserable and we need our wine!
  7. Go Paleo, go vegan or try a macrobiotic diet
    Perhaps you’ve always fancied trying one of those exclusion diets that’s supposed to make you feel much better, boost your energy and into the bargain lose a bit of weight. When working 50 or 60 hours a week chances are you don’t always eat healthily. Good intentions get lost in a haze of paperwork, marking and lesson preparation so you hit the ready meals, the microwave, the podgy, carb-loaded rolls and cakes and you hate yourself for doing this but who has time to eat well? Well, now you do! Try a high-protein so-called Stone Age diet such as Paleo or go vegan and if you’re really ambitious try a Macrobiotic diet that balances the yin and yang of what you eat. If nothing else, it’s a change, it’s fun to have a complete change of routine and what you eat is one way to do that. Who knows, maybe you will feel healthier, happier, sleep better and have more energy. Experiment and enjoy it.
  8. Give kick boxing a go
    Or something else you’ve always fancied trying but haven’t found the time or a class. Maybe you fancy a bit of Samba dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, white collar boxing or weight training. The five or six weeks you have off are a great chance to try something out, see if you like it. Don’t think of it as exercise or a keep fit regime - that sounds far too worthy for the summer holiday! Instead think of it as a new fun activity to try out.

  9. Help others and so help yourself
    Evidence shows that helping others is one of the best ways to boost your own mental health and wellbeing. The summer holidays are a good chance to see what volunteering opportunities there are in your area and see if you can find something you’ve always fancied having a go at. It need only be for the summer weeks so you’re just dipping your toe in, no need to worry about a long-term commitment. Or get a short, sharp wellbeing hit by donating to help education staff in crisis. Donate today! 

  10. Do nothing!
    Sometimes trying to find a way to fill our leisure time can become as much like the work we’re trying to escape from. So we make plans, try to book something, organise family and friends. Search online for where to go, what to do, when to get there, how much to budget. Why not eschew all of that and just... do nothing! The Italians have an expression for this La Dolce Far Niente - the sweetness of doing nothing. And this is praised as true way of relaxing in an issue of Psychology Today called The Art Of Doing Nothing. Why not give it a go this summer? Just switch off, tune out, and just flop.

What have you got planned for your summer bucket list? 

Holiday Bucket List for Teachers

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