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Nourishment and Recovery

July is a time for rest and recovery!

As the school year ends, the teachers in my life talk about needing to take the next week or two to shake off the school year, regroup and ease into summer mode. June can be exhausting for everyone but teachers especially deal with a final push to finish up lesson plans and tests and get report cards out while undertaking major planning for the next school year. And while doing all of the above they are working hard to keep students' heads in the game. You know the June crazies - where most of your students can't self-regulate or organize or follow school routines because they are already in summer mode.

This end of school year was especially tricky as teachers were providing different learning options to students (depending on what part of the country you were living and learning in). I heard many times from different teachers about feeling more tired and "burnt out" than usual for end of June and this was surprising to them. More than one teacher said to me " I shouldn't be as tired as I feel because I was at home providing supplemental learning and I didn't have to organize all the end of school year track/field trips/ceremonies etc," 

This 2019/2020 school year was one of the most challenging school years many of us have experienced. For teachers, for educational assistants, for administrators, for students and for families. It was hard. It was tiring. It was stressful. And we missed out on so many of the day to day moments that fill us up in our work life. Seeing a student finally figure out a new concept, interacting with our colleagues, enjoying the experience of learning new things together and having consistent routines and expectations didn't happen.

So if you aren't feeling a little more exhausted at the end of it, I would be surprised!

Now that the school year is over you may find you need a bit more than a week or two to regroup and feel like your summer time self. I have a few thoughts on how to recover from the year that was and get fueled up for the year that will be!

Start with mindset

Self care is FUNDAMENTAL to our wellness. We can not continue to care for others without filling up our cup. We need to give our bodies and minds nourishment to weather the ups and downs in our lives.

How do we put our self-care needs on the to do list without feeling guilty or selfish? We need to recognize that by taking care of ourselves we will be stronger, healthier, more patient, more loving to our people. It's the truth! Try it out for the next month and see what happens!


What is Self-Care?

Self care, nourishment, self awareness, self-maintenance, self-compassion, ahhhh yes give me some!

I tend to use these terms interchangeably. But I love the word nourishment - to me it means all things that make me feel alive and full of energy and health. It's so much more than just food!

But the others - self care, self awareness, self maintenance and self compassion - are also big ones for me because of that little 4 letter word at the start.

SELF

As in a person's essential being that distinguishes them from others. As in the qualities that make one unique. As in one's own interests and pleasures. Thank you Oxford dictionary!

The thing about self care is it's unique to you. Only you know what self care you need. No one else but you can know what you need to nourish yourself (unless you tell them!). You can't leave the job to anyone else!

I define self care as an activity that increases your energy. It makes you feel more alive, more joyful, more centered, more empowered... True self care has MEANINGFUL impact on your well-being.

Here's the thing...self care is about tuning in to what you need in that moment. And doing the things that your body and your mind need to feel better.

What nourishes you?

Figuring out self care can be tricky. Stellar self care modelling from others is not always out there for everyone to see. And even when people encourage you to "take care of yourself" or "take time for you", it's easy to say but hard to do.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that we all want to feel good. Maybe even better than just good!

Calm. Energized. Excited. Happy. Joyful. Enthusiastic. Accomplished. Grounded. Healthy. Optimistic. Nurtured. Flourishing. I'm just throwing words out there but you get to decide how you want to feel.

So start by finding your words.

And then look at what you are doing in your life that makes you feel the way you want.

What makes you feel...

Calm. Energized. Excited. Happy. Joyful. Enthusiastic. Accomplished. Grounded. Healthy. Optimistic. Nurtured. Flourishing?

Make a list. It could be things you consider hobbies. Or activities like running or working out. It could be things you see as pampering. If it makes you feel (insert your word(s)), put it on the list.

Here's an example to get you started.

I want to feel calm/steady/peaceful.

Now here's my list of some of the things I do already or that I know make me feel calm/steady/peaceful.

Quiet time alone in my house
Baking alone in my house
Taking my dog for an off-leash walk in the country
A hot bath with a book
Looking at family photo albums
Drinking tea
Watching the birds on my bird feeder
Going to the neighbourhood library
Going to the floral conservatory
Holding someone's sleeping baby or puppy
Having my counter tops uncluttered
Restorative yoga class at Wilke Wellness
Having a meal plan for the week
Having my closet organized
Putting in three 1 hour blocks of white space in my weekly schedule (white space is just open time!)
Online grocery shopping
Reading poetry
Having extra time so no rushing
Avoiding the news on the radio
Avoiding high drama people

Now the above activities might not be your thing. And that's okay because we all have different needs. Our nourishment is unique to us. And maybe you don't want to feel calm, maybe you want to feel energized. How you want to feel and what you do to feel that way are uniquely you. So you do you!

If you are starting out this summer break feeling tender and depleted, add in a whole bunch of nourishing self care. Start by checking in with yourself to see what you truly need right now, then give yourself permission to tend to your needs, schedule it in and ask for support if needed.

If like me you find it hard to ask for support, here's one idea.I write out what I'm going to say before I ask the people I love to help me. I write out a script in order to have the words I'm looking for right on the tip of my tongue.

How about saying this to your spouse, partner, roommate, family members....

Hey I'm going to be doing a few things over the next couple weeks to help me feel better and be a happier/healthier/calmer/more fun person/wife/partner/mom. I could really use your help/support. Sometimes I'm going to ask for your help to give me the time to do these things. Can I get your support?

Now you don't need to say exactly those words but write out your words. And ask for the support you need! Your people will thank you for taking care of yourself. Everybody wins!

This July take good care of you! Nourish your body and soul. Be compassionate with yourself.

And remember:

You are not alone in this.
We are all struggling in one way or another.
We are all in this together.

I hope something I have shared here resonates with you. If you know someone who needs to hear this right now please share it with them.  I would love to hear how your summer self care and nourishment is going this July! Send me an email at dyan@shiftintowellness.ca or find me on Facebook here.

If you are looking for some support over the summer with self care and nourishment before the next school year starts stay tuned to my blog. 

Nourish yourselves and stay well my friends!

Shift into Wellness

Tree Lined St, Prairie Town
Saskatchewan, Canada

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