Typically, as an educator, summer was a time for me to get caught up on the hovel my house had turned into. I would end every school year determined to clean the attic, purge my closet, and organize the piles that had accumulated in the basement. Just the other week I heard myself coaching my daughter to make a list of what she wanted to accomplish this summer. Now some of you may be thinking that we all had a chance to do this during the pandemic. However, most educators and parents I know were working overtime, trying to figure out how to navigate the distance learning platform and somehow keep students engaged and moving forward academically and socially. Every educator I encounter is exhausted and sadly, summer for many parents is trying to figure out how to keep children involved in meaningful activities while they keep working.

Perhaps we need to pause. Take some time to truly restore and do something for ourselves. Not huge things. Simple leisure activities like bike rides, hikes, discovering new pop-up breweries, wine tasting, catching up on movies, noticing fireflies, impromptu bonfire parties, getting lost reading a good book in the hammock. You get the idea. If you’re lucky enough to travel, wonderful, but we don’t need to leave our homes to unwind.

Below is a practice that I teach in workshops to help recharge and restore. It’s incredibly simple, but like most practices I teach, it doesn’t work unless you actually do it. It’s called The Ten Things. I would recommend you make a plan for yourself first, and then have your children make their own plan. Don’t read this and think about it. Write it down. Open your calendar and schedule this time for yourself. Call the 5 people you want to be with and make a definitive date to get together. Celebrate that most of us don’t need to socialize by having halfhearted happy hours on the computer staring at the “Brady Bunch” boxes of friends and family that we can’t touch.

5 Things I Like to Do:
Last Time I Did This:
Date I’ll Do This:

5 People I Like to Spend Time With:
Last Time I Saw Them:
Date I’ll See Them:

The simplicity of this exercise isn’t lost on me. However, the results are worth it. When we take the time to remember what really brings us joy, and who we like to share our time with, we’re refueling our empty tanks. We end up feeling rejuvenated, our perspective changes, and who knows, we just might feel like organizing that basement.

For those of you who might read with a critical eye, forgive my grammatical mistakes, I’m writing as I make a Strawberry -Almond Bostock- it was on my 5 Things I Like to Do List.

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