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How teachers can switch off and enjoy their holidays

Tagged In:  holidays, recharge
17 July 2017

Teaching is satisfying, really satisfying and one of the best jobs someone can do.

But, it’s also stressful. Really stressful.

Long hours, heavy workloads, marking, meetings, lesson planning, teaching displays, Ofsted and the list goes on.

So, it’s vital that teachers take a break to recharge, relax and refocus and if you don’t, then inevitably you’re going to suffer from burn out.

Is it difficult to switch off? Yes, no doubt.

But is it impossible?

Research demonstrates that although short-term stress can boost your immune system and push to achieve your full potential, long-term stress can have the exact opposite effect. And, as stress takes a hold on you, you may find yourself suffering from mental health issues and physical symptoms including colds, ‘flu, headaches, aches and pains and, in extreme cases, depression.

No one is going to suggest that you have an idyllic six weeks of down time in front of you – you know that simply isn’t the case but as difficult as it is for teachers, you do have to set a ‘hard boundaries’ between your work and your holiday.


Even a very short amount of time doing something for yourself will help you to relax. Put half an hour to an hour on one side and do something you want to do. Try yoga, Pilates, go for a run, bake a cake, so some colouring, complete a crossword, take a bath or even ‘phone a friend – but don’t talk about work, even if that friend is a teacher. Research shows that the best way to recover from stress is to avoid doing the thing that causes stress so stop multitasking and concentrate on yourself.


There are some great apps you can download to help you relax and focus on the present rather than worrying about the past or the future. Focus on your breathing, empty your mind and do not think of it was wasted time – it’s your time, and it’s important.

Write a To Do list

Before the end of the term, write a list of everything you have to do before you break up and tick them all off and then forget the list and focus on the time ahead. If you’ve forgotten something, unless it’s life-threatening, leave it until you’re back at school. Yes, you could spend weeks on that amazing classroom display, and your pupils will be amazed but, what’s important to them – a wow factor wall display or a relaxed teacher who is happy to be back at school and ready to teach?

Stop being a teacher!

Face it – you’re a teacher because you’re a brilliantly organised, creative, forward-thinking and proactive person. So, if you want to relax and enjoy your holiday – don’t be one. Let someone else take the strain. Again, unless it’s life-threatening, leave it alone.

Distract yourself

If your mind is likely to wander back to the classroom then try a distraction technique; take the dog for a walk, don’t have a dog? Then take the neighbour’s dog for a walk. Or go shopping, go to the cinema, go for a meal – distract yourself.

Ditch the tech

It’s difficult but switch the work mobile off and don’t check your work emails. Ignore the computer; it will still be there in after the holidays. Dare you switch the Wi-Fi off (although you may need to discuss this with your children).

Stop and be quiet!

Switch off from teacher mode and don’t feel guilty about it. You’ve probably got quite a few teacher friends so unless you can all promise each other you won’t talk about work then why not try catching up with your non-teacher friends.

Don’t discuss teaching, don’t read the trade journals and don’t worry about next term. It will all be there for you in September so make the most of your time off.

We need you back to your fabulous best next term!

Further Reading

Teacher Toolkit – Ten Tips for Teachers Relaxing Over the Holidays

Teacher Tips: How To Unwind During The Holidays

Twenty things teachers do during the school holidays

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