As Case Managers in a college environment we tend to focus a lot on the wellbeing of our students, of our colleagues, of our referral sources. During fall term, perhaps to cope, our focus moves to the one–to-two week break from classes at its end. As if its this shining light in the far distance that grows brighter as the semester comes to a close. I often wonder if we put too much pressure on this time of year. Not for the many holiday traditions it might represent, but for its role as our stress oasis. As if to say that re·ju·ve·nate becomes our droned mantra, much like the Dalek’s ex·ter·mi·nate is theirs. I hope our’s is internal. Even the definition of rejuvenate holds out some sort of miracle experience: “To restore to an original or new condition.” Rather than seeking to be new again – I think I will embrace a new 3 R’s for education. Relax. Recharge. Refresh. And my hope is that we all find moments that allow us to recharge and enter the new semester refreshed for the next set of students and tasks who seek our assistance.
Here are 5 Tips that may not wholly rejuvenate but may help create space for the 3 R’s.
[tips reprinted from: blog.edmentum.com; author- Scott Sterling, 12/21/2015:]
1. Read for pleasure
[Case Managers like] Teachers don’t get many chances to read for leisure during the school year. If there aren’t papers to grade [or referrals to process], often other materials are required reading for work. This year, pick out a few books that you would like to read during the break—whether they are education related or purely for fun. Whatever you choose, make sure that you can finish it before returning to school. Not being able to finish a book can be as stressful as not starting at all.
2. Try yoga, meditation, or another restorative technique
Winter break is a great time to try yoga, meditation, or other relaxation practices. Without the day-to-day stress of being at school, you’ll be calmer and much more likely to start a practice that will actually become habit. If you don’t want to spend much money or make a commitment, lots of yoga studios offer free introductory classes or even a regular by-donation class. There are also lots of free apps for meditation available to download and use at your convenience.
3. Make travel easier
A lot of people have to travel over the holidays; entire books have been written about the stress that can cause. Instead of flying during the peak days and times, try to plan your travel on dates that are less busy. If you’re driving, take your time and plan stops along the way to see (and enjoy) the sights. Too often, we are focused on the destination. Think more about the journey to make this year’s holiday travel a more relaxing experience.
4. Make time for yourself
During breaks, many teachers feel guilty if they don’t spend all of their time with their family. However, winter break is just as much about recharging as it is reconnecting. So, don’t feel bad about setting some boundaries and dedicating time for yourself to rest, pursue your interests, or get together with friends. The children will have plenty of new toys to keep them busy.
5. Expand your craft
Some people just can’t stop becoming better teachers, even for two weeks. For them, rejuvenation might mean getting excited about the upcoming semester instead of setting aside thoughts of school. If you fall into this category, take the time to investigate new classroom tricks or strategies to try out in January. That first ring of the school bell after break will sound that much sweeter if you have exciting new ideas to put into action.
May the Winter Break bring You Space and Time for Yourself.
(even if its wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff)
Higher Education Case Managers Association
*Reference: Dalek - is from the British science fiction televesion series, Dr. Who.