As a teacher, you know that the holidays can cause chaos in the classroom. Children seem to have even more energy (while yours is quickly dwindling) and getting them calm enough to focus and participate in holiday-related activities and regular lesson plans can feel like it requires a Herculean effort.
To help you make it through the holidays, we’ve come up with a holiday survival guide that provides a variety of tips on how you can make sure you’re taking care of yourself during these last few busy months of the year.
Survival Tip #1: Set Limits
From shopping and decorating to cooking/baking and attending holiday parties, the holiday season means being constantly on the go. Setting limits on what you can do and the time you can invest will help you set priorities. Remember, you don’t have to accept every holiday party invitation you receive. Know your limits and try not to overextend yourself.
Survival Tip #2: Work on Time Management
You probably have a seemingly never-ending to-do list for the holidays. Working on time management and prioritizing tasks to complete each day instead of having a long list will help make the holidays less stressful and give you more time to actually enjoy them.
Survival Tip #3: Find Ways to De-Stress
What helps you relax during the holiday season? Do you enjoy baking cookies or listening to your favorite Christmas carols? Or do you prefer doing yoga or enjoying a cup of hot chocolate? Finding time to relax and take a moment for yourself is essential to surviving the stress and chaos of the holidays.
Survival Tip #4: Get Enough Rest
Not getting enough sleep at other times of the year is bad enough, but not getting enough sleep during the holiday season can be even more detrimental to your social and emotional and physical health. Try listening to soothing music before going to bed or reading a book instead of watching TV. Another idea is to keep a notebook/journal beside your bed, so you can write down ideas, reminders, or anything else that is keeping you up at night.
Survival Tip #5: Practice Patience
You’re stressed, your students’ parents are stressed, and your students themselves are excited and hyper. During this busy time of the year, it’s important that you practice patience even more than you normally would. Remind children that it’s okay to be excited, but they still need to follow classroom and school rules.
Survival Tip #6: Keep a Positive Attitude
It’s easy to get stressed and start thinking negatively after you’ve had a bad day at school or after you just spent hours at a crowded shopping mall. Try to find one thing to be grateful for each day, and remind yourself that the holidays are a time to be joyful—not depressing.
Survival Tip #7: Celebrate with Students
Don’t be afraid to celebrate the holidays with your students. The holiday season provides some wonderful learning opportunities for children, especially if you teach them about holiday traditions different cultures have in the United States and around the world. If you’re still unsure of how you want to celebrate the holidays with your students, talk about your plans with other teachers and administrators. You can also talk with students’ parents to see what they would be comfortable with.
Make sure you incorporate a few of these tips into your holiday game plan!