Spring--the Importance of Relaxation (even if you have to force yourself to)

I'll just be up front about this post.  It's a bit fluffy.  But spring break has always been a favorite of mine.  This is because it is one of the times in the year when there isn't an additional set of responsibilities.  With Thanksgiving break, there's travel to be with family, or preparations for family.  Winter break incorporates holiday shopping and multiple expectations around traditions.  But spring break, you may have an Easter dinner, but then that's it.  The rest is for you.  It's the dry run for the summer.

For some teachers, they see it as the time to catch up.  While I was of that opinion, it worked for me.  I used to teach Dual Enrollment English, and I would deliberately assign the massive papers required by the cooperating college ahead of the big breaks.  I would stash myself away in my office or some quiet corner of the house and read research papers.  In the mornings, with some coffee, and in the evenings with some beer or wine.  I could work at my own pace.  Would I have rather not had the papers?  Yes... but even though it was an imposition on my time, I made it work, and it was a nice change of pace.  It was comfortable--something that often is considered a luxury during the hustle of the school week.

My first two years of teaching, I was a theatre teacher and an English teacher.  The theatre work kept me deep in the weeds most of the time.  In fact, I would schedule my spring performance to wrap the weekend ahead of break, so that when I came back, my after school commitments would be done.  The problem was that there was no chill in my game during spring break then.  I put off everything--planning and grading, and any personal business (doctor visits, car repairs, etc) for that week of break.  I learned my lesson after my second year of being burned out after returning for the final push of the year.  I almost quit that second year.  I'm glad I didn't.

Now, instead of doing the college-life-cram, I take care of the little stuff as it comes, plan appointments as best I can so they are unobtrusive, and try to take care of myself.  That way when I do get moments of relaxation, I'm actually able to rejuvenate myself, rather than play 52 Pickup with my life.  Sometimes it requires me to force myself to take a moment to let the stress of something that seems important fade.  But, as I once heard, and I'll paraphrase here, happiness is work, you can't just let it happen, because that's how things fall apart.  So, for all of you on break, or about to jump back into the game, I hope it was/will be a good one!