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Monday, July 18, 2022

Teacher Summer Renewal: home life refresh

I am at a place in my life right now where I am working towards renewal. For me renewal this summer means getting back to the things I love, the things that bring me joy that I had gotten out of the habit of doing or was forced to let go of. It means taking the fresh ideas I've learned through the pandemic and infusing them into my old best practices, both in my professional and my personal life. It means reclaiming my sense of purpose, and working towards a renewed passion and energy instead of just living in a constant state of triage. Renewal has to include my whole self and every aspect of my life, not just my role in the classroom- today I'm focusing on the ways I'm working towards renewal in my home life as a working parent.

1. Exercise

I have never had any desire to exercise for the purpose of exercise- I've always maintained that I lead an active enough lifestyle that I don't need to go out of my way and dedicate time specifically to exercise as its own activity. But I realized this spring that 1) I'm getting older, and 2) pandemic teaching and living has been far less active than my pre-pandemic teaching and living, and I've finally made the commitment to do some actual, regular exercise.

Knowing the way I operate and what motivates me, I've put a weekly tracker in my planner to keep track of the days I exercise, and I've made it a goal to do a 10-minute workout every day. If you're like me and you're looking for an easy way to get started, here's one of the videos I've been using- I have a rotation of 3-4 workout videos that I rotate through and they have been a good level of challenge for me where I am right now.

2. Screen time

I'm sure I'm not the only one whose screen time shot through the roof, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. And I know I don't have to explain to anyone the negative impact of too much screen time, or the addictive nature of screens and social media. This summer I'm really trying to reduce my screen time closer to pre-pandemic levels. Obviously I do a lot of work online with Organized Chaos, and right now I'm also in the middle of an online degree program, so a certain amount of computer work is unavoidable. But I'm focusing on that scrolling time on my phone that I've gradually allowed myself to increase during the pandemic. It was a way to stay connected when we were all isolating, but with that need being reduced I need to find ways to back off. 

One strategy that was effective for me years ago that I'm bringing back is wearing a wrist watch. I use the excuse of checking the time as a reason to check my phone constantly, so having a watch takes away that need. I'm also trying, any time I feel like lounging around scrolling through social media or watching YouTube videos, to turn on some music to sing along to instead. It still gives me a way to unwind and relax without having to stare at a screen.

3. Cooking

I've actually been pretty good with keeping up my meal planning/ healthy cooking for my family through the pandemic, and in many ways I've gotten better at using what I have in the fridge or pantry because I was trying to make fewer trips to the store during lockdown (read about that in this blog post). But what I have let slip is my eating habits when I'm alone. Since I share custody of my daughters there are days when they are with their dad and I'm alone, and I've found myself turning much more to convenience, whether that's instant ramen or takeout, with the excuse of "self care". This summer I'm trying to set myself up to cook for myself more with these strategies I had developed pre-pandemic. 

4. Appointments

I definitely let a lot of my annual checkup and other appointments go by the wayside during the pandemic. Part of my "self-care" this summer is getting back on track with all of my appointments! I have my annual checkup with my primary care doctor, dentist and eye appointments, and haircuts all on the schedule and I'm recommitted to staying on track with these.

I'm mostly writing this post because I know if I tell other people I'm doing it, I'll be more likely to follow through and stay committed. But I hope this also helps give other teachers some fresh motivation or inspiration to give your own home life a reboot! After living through everything we've been through in this pandemic- as much as we're not out of the woods yet- I think we all need it. 

If you're in a similar place in life where you're ready for renewal, I'd love to hear what you're committing to, changes you're making, pre-pandemic practices you're bringing back, and new habits you're trying to build. Tell me what you're doing in the comments below!

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