The long awaited summer holidays have arrived! I often find breaking up from school hard: exhaustion combined with the excitement of the last week leaves me emotionally drained and as a result when the end finally arrives it is anti-climatic. I also struggle to adjust to the loss of my school day routine. For the last couple of months I have been functioning by following the structure of the timetable and school calendar. Now 7 weeks stretch in front of me and although I have lots planned I am struggling with the sudden loss of parameters. I’m pretty sure that right now any non teachers reading this are cursing me for whining about my two month holiday!
So why do I find it so hard to adjust? I look forward to the holidays for so long and when they come I am ill-equipped to cope with the time, the solitude and the lack of plans.
So what is the best way to transition from school to holiday mode?
I am not convinced there is an easy way. I suspect the feelings of lethargy, irritability and tiredness are unavoidable. For months I have been suppressing exhaustion, dealing with people for at least 8 hours a day non stop and I am no longer used to solitude and time. I could fill the first week of my holidays with non stop plans – meeting up with people, going on day trips, taking on challenging projects – but this is not a long term solution as it simply delays my coming to terms with how I feel and where I am right now.
I suspect what I need is what I am doing right now: staying with my parents where it is quiet and peaceful and I have the time to transition from professional to personal mode. I feel deeply frustrated that I am so tired and irritable, but those feelings are genuine and I need to take time to acknowledge them and then let them go. I feel guilt for not ‘achieving’ something with my days, but that is because I am still in work mode. It is okay for me to spend the morning reading a book, perhaps mow the lawn and regain contact with friends.
This time is also enabling me to reconnect with meditation and mindfulness. It is no cooincidence that the frenzy of the end of term led to a decline in the amount of meditation I did and if I am to start living more mindfully I need to have this transition period.
A lot has happened this year that I need to process – I have bought a house with my boyfriend, I have undergone therapy for anxiety and depression and have struggled to deal with draining relationships with staff – and it will take time. This morning I was making coffee and I was suddenly overwhelmed by a wave of anger and frustration towards my colleagues. At the time I thought ‘Wow! Where did that come from!’ as it was so unexpected, but it is indicative of the sea of thoughts and emotions that are bubbling away below the surface.
So what are my conclusions? I need to be patient with myself and give it time. Transitions are always difficult, but meditation and mindfulness can be a path to realisation and acceptance.
I hope all the teachers out there allow themselves time and patience to recover from the school year, process the successes and the frustrations and accept it has all drawn to an end.