I know not every teacher on the planet has the traditional six to nine weeks off, but summer is always a good time to reflect on ways to take better care of yourself. And for those of you who are lucky enough to have much of June, July, and August to slow your pace, you can kick the Self-Care into overdrive and create some new and positive habits.
Here are four ways to increase your chances of taking care of yourself in the coming months:
Give yourself permission.  We all have obligations and responsibilities, but how well we take of ourselves is ultimately up to us. You are in charge of you.  So make a concerted effort to give yourself permission to take care of yourself—whether that means slowing down, indulging in some favorite activities, or just resting.  No one else is going to give you the green light, so embracing Self-Care is up to you.  It’s not selfish. It’s healthy.
Schedule it.   One of my favorite places in San Diego is called Balboa Park, and my goal this summer is to make it there once a week. But the first week of summer has come and gone and I have yet to make it. So I realized my mistake. I have put “Balboa Park” on the calendar for next Tuesday. When you put something on the calendar, it makes it real.  Figure out what you want to do (mani-pedi, reading for pleasure, golf, doing nothing) and add it to your schedule. Give yourself the gift of “real.”
Find Your Zen Practice.  My Zen Practice—that activity that you love so much that it fulfills you, you get immersed in it, and you lose all track of time—is writing. So I have incorporated daily writing time into my summer morning routines. Not only am I enjoying the process and making self-care a priority, but as a bonus, the pages are stacking up.  What is YOUR Zen Practice? And how can you get there more often this summer?
Enjoy it.  Have you ever been sitting in the pedicure chair while the nail artist is working her magic on your tootsies, but you’re worrying about paying the water bill, how the car brakes are squealing, or how you have to call your mother and it’s not going to be a fun conversation?*  Those things may be realities of your life, but give yourself the gift of 100% indulgence in your self-care. When you’re in the nail chair, BE in the nail chair.

​We all get busy and sometimes life intervenes. I get that. But during these weeks when many teachers have just a little more time than usual, I encourage you to make self-care a daily choice.  

Whether it’s a walk in the neighborhood with your daughters**, breakfast at the diner with your BFF, coffee by yourself, or a long hot, bubble bath, make some kind of time for YOU every. single. day.
I’m sure lazy teachers exist. But I can’t tell you the last time I saw one. This means that I know that every single one of you worked very hard last year, and for the most part faced some serious challenges, drama, and bumps along the way with both grit and grace.
Now it’s time for you.
You’ve worked hard.

You deserve it.
Take it.  

No guilt. TZT
*a hypothetical, non-autobiographical example.
**totally autobiographical example. Did it last Thursday night.

***Technically, I know that The Chairman of the Board isn’t Classic Rock, but I love this song and it’s about summer so. . .close enough. 🙂 

If you liked these ideas and want to go deeper–or if you’re looking for a good summer read with all that extra summer time you have–please check out the currently discounted book THE ZEN TEACHER: CREATING FOCUS, SIMPLICITY, AND TRANQUILITY IN THE CLASSROOM here