Put Yourself First This Summer Break

Kari PitstickBlog, Reflect Better, Self Care Better, Teach Happier


  • After a hectic school year, it can be difficult to adjust to summer break.
  • Do what is good for your soul and don’t be afraid to make choices that are not specifically education-related.

I’m not going to lie, the first day of summer break this year felt like a bit of a culture shock for me.

Throughout my whole life, as both a student and a teacher, adjusting to summer break never felt anything like it did this year. After a school year of constant changes, stress, confusion—among all the amazing things that also come with being a teacher—it was so difficult to transition to summer break.

For the first week of summer break, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I just wanted to lie on the couch and never get up, but my brain was racing, thinking there must be SOMETHING I should be doing at the moment.

Those feelings were the result of a draining year. And now given the chance to do nothing, I just want to do nothing. This year, our brains were trained to work on overdrive, constantly adjusting to changes thrown our way. So now, even in the moments when I’m sitting and ‘doing nothing,’ my brain is running, thinking about responsibilities I should be engaging with.

Let’s make sure to set aside the things we think we have to do for those things we want to do. And don't give it another thought! Click To Tweet

Last summer, I wrote a blog post about self-care, and how whether you choose to partake in some kind of professional development or just relax and do nothing educational-related, that is okay. This summer, that is still okay and perhaps even more so.

But I’m not here to share this same message.

I want to share with any educator reading this, you deserve to spend as many days as you can this summer doing what is good for your soul—something that is not specifically education-related.

As educators, I think so many of us will always have that voice in the back of our minds saying what we should be doing. What I’m telling you is, this summer especially, don’t listen to that voice if it’s not something that needs to be done. Our work will always be there, but we have absolutely earned this time to have some say in how we spend it.

Reading is my “thing.”

If I need to unwind, you will find me with my Kindle in hand and my feet propped up. So far this summer, I’ve spent more hours than you may care to guess doing just that. And I know that allowing myself to do this is what I need to be ready for a new school year in August.

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Was there something during the pandemic you started doing for yourself that you wish to continue?

One of the things that the pandemic gave back to us was time. As life starts to resemble something closer to what life in 2019 and before was like, don’t forget some of the things we learned about ourselves during the pandemic.

During the pandemic, I saw people picking up new hobbies. Reading more. Watching those TV shows they’d always wanted to get to. Breaking out the dusty board games from the basement. Spending more intentional time with family. Using social media to connect with other educators. Reconnecting with old friends or long-distanced friends on Zoom—I hadn’t even heard of Zoom before the pandemic but apparently, it’s been around almost 10 years.

(Okay, you caught me. That list above are the things I started doing more of in the last year. But I did observe many others doing the same!)

This year was one for the books. Let’s make sure to set aside the things we think we have to do for those things we want to do this summer break. And don’t give it another thought!

See the full blog series here!

About Kari Pitstick

Kari Pitstick is a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher and athletic coach in Illinois. She is the Digital Content Coordinator for the Teach Better Team. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Middle Level Education, and American College of Education in 2018 with a master’s in Curriculum & Instruction.

Kari has known she wanted to teach at the middle level since she was in middle school herself. One of her main missions is to provide a safe and friendly environment for students to explore their passions as learners and as people.