It’s dark, it’s cold, there’s snow. Winter is here. What is also here is the holiday season and a break for all of you, our hard working teachers and clinicians. Personally I love the winter break, as hectic as it can be. Visits with family, friends, good food and drink, sleep ins, warm fires. What can be difficult though is the transition from work to the holidays. We’re so used to the quick pace of the work week and sneaking in time for friends and family. Teachers give so much of themselves to their students during the school year that when the break comes, it can be overwhelming for various reasons. Holiday meals to prepare, managing family gatherings, cooking, activities or maybe preparing for a trip. With all of that chaos, it’s important to find time to take care of yourself and maintain your wellness during the holiday season. Here are some wellness tips that might be helpful for your Winter Holiday!
Wellness Tips and Tricks for the Holidays
- Reflect and prepare:
It is often difficult to transition from work to holidays. Take some time, maybe on the last day of school before you go home to reflect on your first term. Write down 3-5 positive accomplishments from the first term, such how you delivered a new unit or connecting with students. Then jot down your goals for the Holiday Season. What is the most important part of these two weeks? Connecting with friends and family? Rest? Putting your house back together after a crazy first term? Engaging in hobbies? Making a brief plan can help you prioritize your activities.
- Maintain boundaries
As much as you may want to visit with people, or they want to visit with you remember that it’s okay to decompress and take time for yourself. One of the hardest things to do is to say “No”. You can’t please everyone, and it’s important to prioritize people and things that are important to you and that make you feel good. These positive and stress free social activities are rewarding and re-energizing.
Try your best to completely unplug from work. Unplugging doesn’t just mean not thinking about work. It means activity engaging in relaxation. Try to refrain from checking emails and planning for next term. If you feel that you need to plan for the next term, try taking the first week completely off and reevaluate for the second week of holidays.
- Have a budget
One of the largest stressors over the holidays is monetary. People are worried about spending too much over the holidays, and it can be easy to do with so many dinners, events, parties and gifts. Make a detailed realistic budget and if you’re a gift giver, think about all of the non-monetary gifts that are out there. Spending time with someone, doing an activity together, baking.
- Engage your spirit
Spirituality is an important facet of wellness. You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. You can do things like practicing gratitude- with a friend or partner list three things every day that you are grateful for. You could also try mindfulness meditation. Headspace and Calm are fabulous apps to get you started.
- Get outside
We live in a cold climate, so why not embrace it! The fresh air and the outdoors can be so revitalizing and therapeutic. Embrace the snow and its beauty. Bundle up and go for a long walk in the park, go skating or try a new activity like cross country skiing.
- Eat well
With holidays comes many large and delicious holiday meals. Though tasty, they can often leave us feeling tired and sluggish. Aim to find balance and eat healthy meals on other days. You can also take the holidays to make a few frozen meals for a quick lunch or dinner in the new term.
- Catch up on your sleep
As a society we are chronically under slept. Take this time to rest, recharge and try and get into a calming nightly routine. With late night gatherings try and still practice good sleep practices, such as trying to get to bed before 11 pm. Getting into a routine can also be helpful over the holidays because that’s what we’re used to. Having two weeks of “free time” can be a bit daunting for some, so getting into a routine such as setting a bedtime can help with that.
Physical activity is a significant part of wellness. It improves mood and sleep, and decreases anxiety. If you were overly busy during the school year and didn’t exercise, use this as an opportunity to start. Going for a walk can be a great start.
- Prepare for return to work
Yes, you will have to return to work. To reduce the stress of the transition to work, try to get back into a regular sleeping schedule a few days before your return. Remember that stress is normal and having the “Sunday Scaries” is normal. It may be difficult at first, but after a few days of a routine, you’ll be back to normal!
Enjoy the holiday season and remember to prioritize your wellness!