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Sunday, December 18, 2016

5 Things to Do Before Winter Break to Reduce Stress Next Year

Would you like to be able to enjoy your winter break more?  Would you like to return with less stress and a better sense of preparedness for those inevitable meetings that first week?  If so, then read this post about my must-do list before I leave for winter break!

5 Things to Do Before Winter Break to Reduce Stress Next Year

1. Make a to-do list for the week before you leave, but keep it short.
Sounds trite, I know, but having something tangible to remind me of what I have to get done before I leave motivates me and gives me a sense of satisfaction when I cross things off.  The reason I say "keep it short" is because I can always add to it later if I get everything done.  A long list makes me more nervous.

Here's my current list:
~Grade papers
~Put 2nd Quarter grades in computer
~Hang posters for next unit

2.  Have at least a general idea of what you'll be teaching the week you return.
I know you are just trying to get through to winter break, but trust me, planning a little bit ahead will give you peace of mind during the break and lower your stress when you get back.  Even if you can plan the first couple of days, that will help tremendously.

3.  Check out an online planbook to streamline the planning process.
If you already have your plans written, awesome.  If you don't, may I suggest an online planbook?  I've been using for about 4 years now, and I love it.  It's so easy to change and add to from any device.  If snow hits, I just bump my lessons forward.  No more erasing and re-writing.  No more lost sticky notes.  Fun fact, I am NOT being paid to promote their website.

4.  Get that copying done NOW.
Once you have a general plan of what you'll be teaching when you return, start making copies.  You know the line will be long when you return.  You know the copy machine will jam and waste time when 80 people are trying to use it at once.  Why not get a little bit ahead of that stress?  Even if you just copy a few key assignments, it will save you some headaches.  I promise.

5.  Practice some self-care EVERY day.
If you lower your stress before break, you will most likely return with a a better sense of calm after the break.

Here are some of my favorite self-care routines for teachers:
~Do stretches at your desk throughout the day

~Rub your favorite lotion or essential oil on your hands and inhale

~Listen to an audiobook on your way to school and home

~Write down at least one thing that went well each day and keep it to read when you need a reminder of how you are doing a great job and YOU MATTER!

~If you can, do a couple of laps around the hallways of your school at a brisk pace to get your blood flowing.  FEEL-GOOD BONUS:  Do this with a favorite teacher friend.

For days when all else fails, during your planning period:
~Shut the door, turn the overhead lights down, draw the shades, turn on soft lighting, play your favorite music or put an uplifting/funny YouTube video on in the background while you work.  I swear this one works!

What do you do to make the beginning of the year start off smoothly?  I'd love to hear about it!

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