Encouragement,  Goals,  Lifestyle

Don’t Waste your Break

It’s that time of year again– summer break! Or, at least it is for all you Northern Hemisphere folks. Here in the Southern Hemisphere, we’re rugging up for winter. Thankfully, we have a two week break coming up in a few short weeks. I couldn’t be more excited!

Over the last few years of teaching, my husband and I have come to realise that I don’t do well with extended time off. I can vividly remember one day about four weeks in to my first summer break where I had reached the end of my rope. Kent worked full time at a summer camp, so my downtime was his busiest time of year. When he got home from work, he excitedly asked me how my day was going. I immediately burst into tears because I hadn’t done anything that day! I napped, not because I was tired, but because it passed the time quicker than being awake. It happened again this year, but was only made worse by me being homesick for my family at Christmas at the same time. Honestly, we began to dread breaks.

I can’t change that teachers have massive breaks, more-so than workers in other industries. If I wanted to stay in teaching (which I do), I knew that I’d have to find ways to cope with these times. I thought about what the main difference was between my life during the school year and during breaks and here’s what I came up with:

After going non-stop for so long, an extended time off can be a shock to the system. As teachers, we work so much on structure. We have routines and procedures. We have weekly commitments that fall at the same time: library time, staff meetings, specials, etc. When I’m on break, all semblance of structure goes out the door. Going from a lot of structure to none is really unsettling and often leaves me feeling lost with what to do with such an extended period of time in front of me. These instances have been a wake up call to me about how I should prepare for break times.

It wasn’t that I needed to avoid break times– I just needed to give structure and purpose to them. I know some of you are cringing at that. Honestly, I was too! I didn’t want my breaks to be regimented, but I did need a little more guidance than waking up and thinking “hmm, what will I do today?”

Enter: The Break Time Bucket List

While perusing one of my favourite blogs for inspiration, I came across this post on a summer fun list. I love Emily’s approach to having a Summer Fun List in order to make the most of your time off or to make the most of the season you’re in. I decided to adapt her approach to meet my need for a little structure on school term holidays.

Instead of giving myself a schedule for my break times, I decided in the weeks leading up to my school break, I would make a bucket list. My bucket list consists of anything I’ve been wanting to do and haven’t gotten to, as well as things that are purely fun. This has been such a great solution for me. Sometimes I plan ahead and think of what I want to do on each day, but on days where I don’t I can just look at the bucket list and pick something to do that day.

I drafted my bucket list on a blank page in my Powersheets so that I’d have it for easy reference next month.

While many of these things do fit into my yearly Powersheet goals and could be made into an item on my monthly Tending List, they aren’t extremely time-specific. Therefore, I’d rather not include them. Also, having it as a “Bucket List” makes the time away from school feel more set apart and special.

This is the first school break where I’ve had no travel plans and haven’t had anyone coming to visit. To me, what’s most is amazing is that, unlike previous breaks, I don’t feel anxious or worried about what I’ll be doing while on holiday. It’s quite the opposite– I couldn’t be more excited to get started on this bucket list. Sixteen days to do what I want sounds pretty great to me!

Do you have any way of structuring your break times or do you go with the flow? Either way, I’d love to hear about what you’re doing on your upcoming break in the comments below!


  • Em

    I love this!! So glad the bucket list is helping provide some needed structure. Sounds like you have an amazing break ahead of you! 🙂

    • teachingwthendurance

      Thanks, Emily! It’s my last day of work before the break and I’m looking forward to it. Hope you’re having a great July. I used to live in your town and will miss the sweet little 4th of July parade (I rode in it many times as a kid)! Enjoy!

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