Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Problem with the Stay-cation

It's Spring Break and I think my school is having the latest Spring Break of the season this year. Now I can't really complain because we are one of those schools that does take a ridiculous February break (that I have a love/hate relationship with) and we get out of school Memorial Day weekend (don't get too jealous, soon enough you will be laughing at me while I'm at marching band camp).

The other reason why I can't complain is because I took an entire week off of school to travel to the National Cherry Blossom Parade with Foothill HS from Pleasanton. It was an honor to be asked to serve and work with another band program. In a year in which I have been doing a lot of reflecting about my current philosophy on music education and what my students truly need and want from my band program, it was a nice breath of fresh air to travel with someone else.

One of the things that I have been reflecting on is that I have been talking about both on the blog and in person with many of my friends. I have been talking about how burn out and the pace of this job have taken its toll on me in various different ways. I have been working really hard to carve space and time for myself and my "personal life" to help curb this burn out. I have also been doing things like removing or modifying activities within my band program that might have become stressful or are not serving the students or myself or the parents in the way they have before. I have been obsessed with getting the band calendar (and in essence my own calendar) really organizing to set me up for success in both my personal and professional life.....to have a kick butt summer so that I have time off. 

And that brings me to the problem of the Stay-cation. You need time off for yourself because its a vacation for a reason. You are a teacher and you need one. The biggest way to fight burn out is to help bring balance back to your life and that means having more "me time" but I also find that during a Stay-cation I really need that uninterrupted work time to get tasks done. Basically if I don't do some "work" and set myself up for success the end of the year can be a totally mess. Plus this is the important time of year as band directors that we are dealing with 5 grades of students not 4....and they are stressful too (seniors who don't want to be there and freshmen and their parents who have no idea how to be in the band yet). But my problem is when I am home I often just find myself working and then being frustrated that I spent my vacation time working....

So here's a few tips that I remind myself during my Stay-cation or days off in general. 
-Create a short to do list of items that you want to get done on a particular day-short term goals

-Set a timer for work-do something different when it goes off. The truth is that our work is never done we are always in the middle of doing something. This forces me to not work the entire break. 

-Schedule what days and when you are going to do work. Putting yourself on a schedule is a good thing!

-Plan some fun activities. That could be lunch with a friend, getting your nails done, shopping, doing nothing, reading a book, Spring Cleaning (ok that's not really fun but it feels great when its done). 

But the problem with a Stay-cation for me is that I have to set these boundaries for myself about when and how much work I will do so that I can still enjoy the vacation I have earned/been given and find ways to let those in my life know that I'm not just in town for work but also for relaxation.