Winter break is a mixed bag. On the one hand, you’re excited to have some free time; but on the other, you feel overwhelmed by a laundry list of things to do. STOP. It’s time to relax and savor your winter break this year. Realize that you’re only human and pick a few things you’d like to accomplish over the break. Live in the moment, be brave, and try something new. Who knows, you might discover things about yourself you never knew before.
Make a To-Do List and Set it Aside
Write a list of everything you need to/would like to get done and post-date it. This may sound a little silly but it’s a lot easier to live in the moment when you aren’t feeling overwhelmed by every little thing that needs to get done. And if you write it down, you won’t have to worry about forgetting a thing. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your winter break this year!
Doing crafts and art projects can be a fun and even relaxing way to spend your winter break. And although many of us enjoy getting creative, these kinds of projects often get neglected during the hustle and bustle of the school year. According to New York University Psycologist, Robert Reiner, “Crafts make you concentrate and focus on the here and now and distract you from everyday pressures and problems. They’re stress-busters in the same way that meditation, deep breathing, visual imagery and watching fish are.” So roll up your sleeves, it’s time to get creative!
Glowing Crystal Snowflakes
What teacher doesn’t love an art project that is also educational! Making glowing crystal snowflakes is the perfect way to combine art and science in the spirit of the season. All you have to do is: First, make a snowflake out of pipe cleaners. Second, coat the snowflake with Glo Away paint and let it dry. Third, mix some borax crystal solution with hot water in a glass (or Mason jar). Finally, place your snowflake in the solution and let it sit overnight. In the morning you’ll have a permanent snowflake that glows in the dark—which can also double as a festive ornament.
Go Bird Watching
Winter is a great time of year to go bird watching, even if you’ve never gone before! And in many ways, it provides ideal conditions for novice birders. Due to the migration patterns of different species, winter provides an opportunity to spot rare species of birds to your region. Food is also scarce for these birds, making them more active in their search for food. This gives you even more opportunities to spot them on the hunt!
Snowshoeing is definitely one of the more quirky winter sports out there. But what you might not know is that snowshoeing can help enrich a person's physical health. Snowshoeing is known to improve cardiovascular fitness and can help you burn more than 600 calories per hour! According to SnowSports Industries America (SIA), snowshoers can burn more than 45% more calories than walking or running at the same speed. So instead of hitting up the gym, go outside: go snowshoeing.
Set Realistic New Year’s Resolutions
It’s that time of year again… but there’s no need to stress. This year, simply set attainable New Year’s resolutions. For example, if your resolution is to exercise more often, set a goal to work out three days a week instead of all seven. Also, allow for different things to constitute working out. This way you can enjoy a walk with a friend, exploring nature, or even go snowshoeing and feel good about it. And as you keep your resolutions it will boost your self-confidence which will ultimately make you an even more effective teacher.
Bake a Seasonal Treat
When was the last time you cooked/baked just for fun? More often than not we rush from one activity to the next and either pick up something to eat on the way or rush to throw something together for our families. But cooking does not have to be a chore! Rediscover the fun of baking and make a seasonal treat. Who knows, if you double the recipe you may have enough to share with your neighbors—trust me, it’s a great ice-breaker!
Write a Letter of Appreciation
When was the last time you expressed appreciation to a colleague you admire? Winter break is the perfect time to write a letter to another teacher, letting them know the things you appreciate about them and the work that they do every day. As you do this, you will not only brighten your friend's day but you’ll also be filled with the joy that comes from serving others.
As teachers, you work hard all year to make sure everyone else is taken care of. And I know this may be hard for some of you, but try to leave work at work (or at school as the case may be) for once and take some time out for yourself. Give yourself an hour or so for a warm, relaxing bubble bath or even an at-home pedicure. You’ll come back from winter break recharged and ready for your students.
Read a Good Book
You try to instill a love of reading in your students but when was the last time you actually savored a really good book? Now that you have a little spare time on your hands you can finally justify a little R&R. Plus, winter is the perfect time of year to cuddle up on the couch, hot chocolate in-hand, and read a really great book. Who knows, you might actually learn something. Enjoy!
Catch Up on Professional Development Hours
We know that professional development credit requirements vary from state to state but we, here at Reading Horizons, want to make the process as easy as possible on teachers. This is why we’ve provided webinars and even an online reading workshop where you can earn free professional development credit! So sit back, relax, and let us do the work for you this winter break.
Share Your Story:
What are your favorite things to do over winter break? What's your advice for other teachers, especially new/young teachers, so they pace themselves over winter break? We want teachers to come back from the break feeling refreshed and rejuvenated instead of even more exhausted than they were when they started. Help us help them by posting your ideas in the comments section. We'd love to hear from you!
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