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Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to school blues

Icecream crop

Happy holiday ice cream in Harlech

Even though I love my job and am looking forward to sharing the tools of mindfulness and meditation in new and old schools this autumn, I realised a few days ago that I was feeling sad about the end of the school holidays and anxious about the beginning of the new school year. Sound familiar?

Some teaching friends are all excited and have bought their new pencil cases, but I know that not every teacher or student feels this way. For me, I know I’m just resistant to getting back into the term-time work routine.

If this is true for you, here is what I’m recommending to myself:

  • Admit the anxiety/concern about work load and/or limited ‘free’ time. Then ask yourself: is this the whole story?
  • Commit to pauses in your day. If you meditate that’s great: even 3 minutes a day will make a difference. You can also do your best to just eat lunch without doing work at the same time, maybe sit and do nothing for 10 minutes when you get home. (You might have to explain what you’re doing and/or wait until children are in bed.)
  • Make sure you have things to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be your next holiday, it could be just a cup of coffee in your favourite cafe, by yourself or with someone else. Present moment awareness can include planning!
  • Put fun or nourishing things in your diary: a massage, a swim, football, bike rides (I’ll be playing regular games of not very good tennis) or an outing to the countryside/coast/gallery/museum/cinema/theme park/spa.
  • Eat and sleep well. Sorry to sound like your mum, but we all know these make a difference. Pick one thing you want to do that you know will support your well-being and make a promise – out loud to someone else – that you’re going to do your best for September. Think of it as your New Term Treat: I’m going to feel good (or better) in the morning because I’m going to bed by x o’clock/not eating rubbishy late night snacks/playing computer games until midnight…
  • Lastly, don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t keep up your best intentions. You’re not a robot. And every day is a new day, just the same as on holiday…

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