Burnout is a real thing and it’s happening at an alarming rate. Whether it’s your 2nd year or your 30th year, burn out can happen to you at any point in your teaching career. Summertime can be a great time to rest, relax, and recover so you’re fresh for next year. Here are some things you might try this summer…

Play or Sing Music (for fun)

Since you teach music, you’re pretty much surrounded by music constantly. But, as teachers, we don’t always take time to nurture our performer side. Take some time this summer to break out an instrument and play or sing something that you really enjoy. Try not to have that music connected to school in any way. Remember, we are trying to recover from the school year!

You might even venture to learn a whole new instrument. I have always wanted to learn ukulele so this summer, I’m taking it on! I chose a song I love, which has motivated me to learn for fun.

Stop Checking Your Email

I am a compulsive email checker. It’s a really big weakness of mine when it comes to work-life balance. Unless you’re working over the summer for some reason or your workplace has an email policy(check your contract), you are not obligated to check your email every day.

Avoid email checking by:

  1. Taking your email off of your phone. You don’t need to check your work email at the pool. Take the app off of your phone, at least for the summer. Those emails can wait.
  2. Put an auto response up. It’s totally okay to put an auto response up letting people know that email replies may be delayed.
  3. If you must check your email, choose when you are going to do so in advance. If you choose dates/times to check your email, you will be less likely to feel like you have to constantly check it. Maybe you choose to check your email in the afternoon on Mondays and Thursdays – whatever works for you!

Start or Keep a Morning Routine

I wouldn’t consider myself a morning person. I enjoy staying up late into the night with a spoon and some ice cream in my hands. A morning routine helps keep some consistency in my life, especially over the summer when my time is more unstructured. 

I developed my morning routine as part of my New Year’s resolution this year. I used The Miracle Morning book by Hal Elrod to help with the development of my routine. I don’t follow it exactly but it has been great inspiration. Morning routines don’t need to be lengthy – The Miracle Morning routine can be done in as little as 6 minutes. If you develop this routine this summer, you can also carry it with you when the school year begins. How you start your morning can have a big effect on your day so make sure you’re starting out right!

My morning routine consists of:

  1. Meditating for about 4-7 minutes. I use the meditation studio app. I meditate before I do anything else in the morning.
  2. Drinking a tall glass of water. Hydration is so important! I try to start my day with water.
  3. Saying daily affirmations. I write out and repeat a few affirmations each week.
  4. Writing in my gratitude journal. I write down several things I am thankful for each day.
  5. Practicing 10-15 minutes of yoga. I usually just do a few sun salutations and a few other poses depending on what I want to work on that week.

Even though I have to wake up a little bit early to be able to complete my routine before I go to work, it has made all the difference in setting the tone for my day! Over the summer, it helps keep me on track and gives my a little more structure.

Form a New Healthy Habit

Sometimes it can be tough to form new habits during the school year, especially when you are dealing with endless emails, unannounced observations, and concert prep. The summertime is a great time to form a new healthy habit that will benefit you. Last summer, I took up yoga and it has seriously been a game changer for me when it comes to managing stress.

Now, real talk – I always thought those people who said that yoga changed their life were exaggerating or honestly a little ridiculous. How can an exercise really affect you that much? I mean, I’ve done a lot of different exercises – crossfit, running, biking, cardio classes but none of them stuck with me and gave me as much.

Yoga has been so soooo beneficial to me because…

  1. My mind has an hour to turn off 2-3 times per week. I use all of my mental energy to concentrate on breathing, posture, etc. so all of my racing thoughts about teaching melt away. Yoga has helped me to clear my head and deal with the stress of teaching in a healthier way.
  2. My posture has improved and my shoulder tension has been eliminated. I hold all of my stress in my shoulders so they were constantly shrugged. I also had horrible posture from leaning over to help with small students and hunching to look down at scores.  My love of my computer time does not help that either. In the course of a couple of months, my posture is almost fully corrected now, just from doing yoga!
  3. It’s all the exercise I need. I have been a cardio junky for a while but I knew I needed to have a more well rounded workout with weight lifting and flexibility/stretching. If you go to the right class, you can get your cardio, strength, and flexibility training all in a single yoga class. 
  4. Yoga is not competitive. I know this is a kind of silly benefit but I am an extremely competitive person. I put a lot of pressure on myself so it was nice to take up something that is all about the journey. There’s no race to win, time to beat, PR to make, or score to work towards. Yoga masters emphasize that they are still learning, even from their students!

If you want to take up yoga as your healthy new habit, my first recommendation is always to try to get to a class in a studio. Many yoga studios offer teacher discounts or pay what you can classes. If you live near a lululemon store, many of their stores offer free in store yoga classes. Just like when you’re learning an instrument, it’s always better to have some attention from a teacher to make sure you are using proper technique. As with any exercise, injury is possible, so the help of a pro is definitely the way to go.

If there isn’t a studio near you or you can’t afford it, a few other recommendations:

  1. Yoga with Adriene Youtube channel – she has a great series for beginners. Check it out under the playlists tab.
  2. Asana Rebel App – there are free and paid videos in this app. This is a great option if you’re looking for something on your phone or tablet
  3. Do You Yoga – this website has a great community filled with lots of articles. They have some free videos as well as a paid monthly membership

If you don’t want to take up yoga as your healthy habit, use the summer to explore what else you can do now that will help your future self. If you are stuck about what you may want to do, think about what you loved to do when you were 10. This may seem a little silly, but it can get some ideas flowing.

Some ideas to get you started…

  • Read 10-15 minutes per day
  • Find a race to train for
  • Scrapbook
  • Journal
  • Join an adult sports team
  • Learn how to cook some new meals
  • Join a community band/choir/orchestra or church ensemble

So tell me, what are you going to do this summer to rest and recover?

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