The importance of unplugging for educators

After writing the series on monitoring and adjusting, June exploded. I was working long hours in a situation that was constant repair, adjust, and basically being a duck, looking calm while furiously paddling underwater. These times of year will always happen in education, and if we aren’t careful, they can overwhelm us to the point of not being able to see straight.

After my third week-long event, I escaped to a cabin, deleted all social media, didn’t check emails, and went from a bed to a hammock to the couch and back to the bed. I read many books for pleasure, walked around surrounding my pine trees, and released any expectations of how I should spend my time. I then returned and continued this vacation by reading in bed most of the morning, watching TV with my daughter, and cooking.

I cannot overstress the importance for educators to unplug. This time is valuable whether it’s during the summer, on weekends, or on a day off. If you immediately thought, “I can’t do that! The world cannot function without me,” I have news for you, my friend. Without you checking socials or emails or communicating with colleagues or students, the world will go on.

The thing is, you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s even worst when you ignore that emptiness and the cup cracks. Now, feeble attempts to fill the cup are futile. You need a complete repair. Don’t ignore it.

Tips to Unplug

This will look different for everyone because your definition of rest and unplug is different.

  • Schedule days to rest and unplug. Put them in your calendar. (You don’t have to wait for a weekend or a break. I used to schedule one per semester and worked my lessons and grading around it)
  • Turn your phone on airplane mode.
  • Delete socials or log out of them during the period of unplugging.
  • Reassess your boundaries, why you have them, and how they are helping or hurting you.
  • Read for pleasure, listen to your favorite podcast, or dig into a show you’ve wanted to watch.
  • Let people know you are unreachable. Nothing needs to be communicated or done that day. (Your students don’t need you. Show them that boundaries and rest are essential. I had a student write that she appreciated that I showed them that lesson because I needed the time to relax as much as I loved my job and my students.)

You are a priority. Make sure you spend time showing yourself that.

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