Teacher Toolkit for Holiday Wellbeing


As much as holidays for teachers are a definite perk of the job, by the time they come around, we are often at the point of total exhaustion or burnout.

The stress hormone, adrenaline, keeps us going through the report writing, the marking, the clearing of classrooms, the document writing for the next year and the end-of-year exams, so much so, that by the time the holidays arrive, it is common to fall ill in the first week or two, from our stress levels trying to regulate and not having the energy to fight off sickness.

During the longer holidays, we may have time to recover and begin to recharge and rest, but in the shorter holidays, we can be straight back to work after spending the holidays ill. Depending where in the world you are reading this from, hopefully, this summer/ winter holiday, will give you time to recharge and recover ready for the coming semester.

Going back to work after a break can, cause anxiety for several reasons, such as not feeling ready to go back, having an amazing time with family and friends, having traveled and not had much time to rest, or general anxiety about the new term.

Here is my teacher toolkit of 5 top tips for how to use the holidays to ensure sufficient relaxation, and also how to set yourself up for success and wellness on your return to work.

During the holidays

1. Spend time with people you love
During the term while we are working, it can be easy to 
get bogged down with work, trying to fit everything in and we can forget to meet up with friends or family. Use holiday time to see all the people you love and catch up with those you have not seen in a while. This helps us detach from work, focus on life and realise how loved we are.

2. Get enough sleep each night
Lack of sleep influences how often we get sick. Getting adequate sleep each night, gives our bodies time to recover from the effects of the day. Our muscles, our nervous system and our brains need sleep to keep us healthy.

3. Prioritise self-care
Self-care is anything that makes you feel good. So whether it is being social and seeing people, decluttering your home, being creative, journaling or exercising, do some things that make you feel happy. You are the most important person in your life so treat yourself well.

4. Create habits for success while you have more time
It is difficult to start new routines and habits when you are tired from a full week at work, so start them in the holidays while you have time, meaning that by the time you return to work, the habit is instilled.

5. Switch off completely from work
Do not check emails, do not plan or do any paperwork until you need to. This is your time to enjoy, away from work and it is good to completely detach from work and just focus on yourself.

Returning to school

1. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule
Research shows that it is beneficial for us to have a similar sleep schedule throughout the year, try to go to bed around the same time each night. Being consistent with the sleep cycle reinforces your body’s wake cycle, which helps our internal clock and gives us better quality rest.

2. Set boundaries on work you will do out of school
Decide your limit for taking work home and stick to it. If you tell yourself you will not take any work home, it can motivate you to use time at work more efficiently.

3. Prepare food for the day/week to save money and eat healthier
Being prepared for the day or week, planning healthy food and preparing it at home, not only helps maintain a healthy diet, but it saves you money and allows you to be more conscious of what you are putting in your body and your energy levels.

4. Only go in before designated date if it will make you feel better
If you must go in to school before work starts, only do so if it will genuinely help you feel more organized or ready for the year by reducing your anxiety.

5. Make a must-do list with only 3 things per day
Teachers love a to-do list but, as teachers, the list never ends as there is always something else to add. I always advise people to write 3 things maximum that MUST be done today and that is all. Add the rest onto the ‘should-do’ list and you can do these if you have time.

Enjoy your break

It can be overwhelming going back to work when you have either had a holiday that you do not want to end, or, have not had time to fully recuperate before you are back again. Routine and boundaries are essential to work/life balance and making sure that you are organized without giving every hour to work. Remember to enjoy your holidays, be kind to yourself, spend days doing nothing if that is what your body needs and set yourself up for another successful year in the classroom by focusing on your health, happiness and wellbeing.


Written by contributing writer Heather Broderick – Career and Leadership Coach. Specialising in leadership and positive workplace culture, Heather offers Life and Leadership Coach services to individuals and organisations alike. Read more about Heather’s work here.

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