Summer self-care for teachers 


01st August 2023

Summer self-care for teachers 

Schools, senior leaders and teachers are under immense pressure. We are trying to teach children the knowledge and skills needed for a successful life and being asked to play a huge societal role in terms of supporting children’s social and emotional needs. In this blog, we will talk about what burnout is and how it can be avoided, with top tips from our team of primary professionals. 

Summer self-care for teachers 

Free relaxation resources

Click here for a free mindfulness colouring-in resource.

Click here for some free baking recipe sheets.

Click here for two of Simon’s favourite recipes.

What is burnout?

Burnout was first described by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974. In his original 1974 article, Freudenberger describes the state of being burned out as ‘becoming exhausted by making excessive demands on energy, strength, or resources’ in the workplace (Freudenberger, 1974, p. 159). For Freudenberger, burnout occurs in workplaces that demand a significant amount of emotional work and empathy, personal involvement and intrinsic motivation: working conditions typical in the healthcare sector, social work and education.  

In the UK and most other countries, burnout is not a classified medical condition in itself but is recognised as a factor contributing to stress-related disorders and physical illness. Sweden, on the other hand, classified burnout as the medical diagnosis of ‘stress-related exhaustion disorder’ in 2005. Whichever way we view it, burnout is real. 

How can we avoid burnout?

The best way to avoid burnout is to incorporate wellbeing practices into your routine. Give them the same level of priority as your work tasks, and set realistic goals that are simple to fit in. 

Our top tips 

Our Cornerstones team is a talented group that includes experienced primary professionals. We asked our team to share their advice for how to switch off from work over the holidays.   

Try not to view your holiday as a time to catch up with work that needs doing. I always found it best to put aside a week at the beginning or end of the summer to do my work. It helped me define a clear work window and a definite time for switching off.’  

Melanie Moore, Director 

During the summer holiday, deactivate your email pop-ups and only check school emails at allocated times.’  

Sandra Jones, Curriculum Adviser 

‘Set any school WhatsApp groups to mute over the summer so you can concentrate on your family and friends. You can then check these messages in your own time.’  

Janet Carroll, Senior Curriculum Adviser 

Leave your work laptop at school and arrange to collect it on a certain date. That way, you are not tempted to work on the days you have set aside for a break.’ 

Al Ritchie, Curriculum Adviser 

Here are some other ways to ensure you make wellbeing a priority over the summer holiday: 

  • Limit any preparation work to a defined number of days, and don’t allow it to run over. This will stop you from spending the whole summer holiday planning for September. 
  • Use your existing teacher planning skills and apply them to self-care planning. Block out each week of the summer and list what self-care you would like to achieve by the end of each week.  
  • Put your work out of sight to remove any temptation to start during your designated relaxation period.   
  • If you do think of something you need to do, write it down in your notebook and put it to one side until you are ready to deal with it. You do not have to do everything right now.  
  • Spend time with friends and family, especially those that are not in education. Enjoy conversations that are not about work. 
  • Spend time doing the things you love. Remember the person you are beyond your job. 
  • Engage in some physical exercise. This will raise your energy levels and act as a great distraction from work-related activities.  

To help aid your R&R, we’ll be posting some fun ways to relax this summer. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for helpful tips from our team of primary teachers.  

We would love to hear what works for you! 

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