A teacher’s summer vacation is untouchable: a necessity that only those who teach truly understand. During the winter, I made a promise to myself that I would take this summer off. It wasn’t an easy decision, being the people pleaser that I am, but I was thankful to get 100% support for my decision. Coming off my most trying school year yet, if I didn’t have the opportunity to start taking care of myself, I was fully prepared to not come back to my job in the fall.
Prior to the start of 2019, I set my intentions and worked really hard to focus on my mental and physical health. For the first three months of the new year, I was proud of the habits I had created. Nevertheless, the last three months of the school year derailed my feelings of success and I felt like I was back at square one. It was super defeating and once those thoughts of failure creep into your head, it’s hard to push them out.
As I began my first true summer off just a few weeks ago, I delved head first back into a few key habits that I had lost touch with. Today I will share a few daily habits and overarching thoughts that I’ve been intentional about recently. Perhaps something will resonate with you. Perhaps nothing will. Nonetheless, thanks for reading up to this point.
Have a plan.
Cringy, right? Danielle, it’s summer vacation, why do you need a plan? Girlfriend, just RELAX!
The truth is: I’m lost without a plan or some level of organization in my life. During the school year, everything is regimented. When I have a plan going into the day, I am at my best.
I began using my 30-day Push Journal again and truly believe it is one of the best ways to start my day. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go back and read on of my first blog posts and purchase your own here. Essentially, I write down three tasks that I want to achieve that day. Anything else I get done is bonus! I’ve also found that time blocking has been huge for me. When I set aside dedicated time each day to work towards a specific goal or task (i.e. grad class, blogging, fitness, etc), I can get so much more accomplished.
I think the biggest mistake we make when taking a ‘vacation’ is throwing aside all our normal habits. Some level of planning [at least for me] keeps me sane and feeling on track.
Move your dang body.
I’ve always had a hard time openly talking about my exercise habits with people. I don’t do it to lose weight, but after the year I’ve had I’ve realized that movement is the only way I can generate energy.
I was SO exhausted every. single. day. My mind would run a mile a minute during the school day and wouldn’t shut off at night. I physically felt weak and lame. I’ve had huge gut health issues [likely attributed somewhat to anxiety of the job] that have only added additional worry to my already full plate.
Brendan Burchard [one of my favorite personal development gurus] says, “the power plant does not have the energy, it generates it.” This is SO true. No wonder I was in such a ragged mental and physical state, I couldn’t take care of my body or mind. Energy wasn’t going to magical appear at my doorstep each morning. Deep down, I know that part of my fatigue was working at job that I didn’t enjoy anymore.
My promise to myself this summer was to find a way to move my body every single day. I once ran a half marathon [I don’t consider myself a runner at all]. That has been one of my single greatest accomplishments and a reminder to myself that I can go from NOTHING to something big in a short amount of time. This summer I’ve picked up running again and have fell in love with the Peloton app. I feel most alive when I’ve completed my morning workout. The secret is to get it out of the way early in the day, it truly sets the tone for how your day will go.
So if you aren’t moving your body, just do it. It won’t be fun all the time, but it is the cheapest therapy that exists.
Learn something new everyday.
While I’m technically not working at my school this summer [I’m still doing some private tutoring on the side], my desire to learn is always present. I’ve found so much enjoyment and satisfaction in doing lots of reading and podcast listening this summer. I even read a book the other day about the importance of starting your 401(k)….I know, exhilarating 🙂 Regardless of what I’m reading or listening to, I take a few minutes each night to reflect on what new things I’ve learned and find it even more helpful if I can talk with someone, like my husband, about it.
What is my ONE thing?
So this isn’t really a habit, but it’s something that has been on my mind and heart a lot lately. I’ve always been notorious for working myself to the ground. A self-proclaimed workaholic and YES [wo]man. I’ve juggled a lot in the last decade: professional teaching career, part-time Ph.D student, small business owner, tennis instructor. I could go on. The point is, I’ve come to learn that I can’t maintain a high level with every little thing I do. I put on a good show for people, but it’s tough living up to other people’s expectations [along with your own].
Last week I read Gary Keller’s book The ONE Thing. For those who haven’t read it, he basically poses the question: what is your one thing? What is the most important thing in your career, business, life, etc? Keller convinces his readers to ‘go-all-in’ on your ONE thing and realign your priorities based on it.
Teaching is for sure my ONE thing. And it takes on many forms for me. Whether it be working with my middle schoolers, graduate students, or helping women to feel more confident by teaching them easy beauty tips, I know that teaching is what I’m meant to do. With that being said, I’m aggressively becoming more open to my ONE thing looking different for me within the next few years. There are many ways I can use my teaching talents to build up and to empower others. I guess I will leave it at, this journey is ‘to be continued’…..
Life is too short to spend it at war with yourself.