How to disconnect from your laptop and reconnect with nature this school holiday

Technology makes our lives easier. As a teacher, instead of carrying thick notebooks and tons of paper all the time, you get to bring a laptop with all your work contained within this sleek machine. You can work remotely, your mobile phone reminds you of all your deadlines, and offers a myriad of teacher apps to help you do your job in the best possible way.

However, the fact that we can now always access our work with comfort and that we're always available and connected can make us workaholics who will eventually face a burnout. In fact, teachers are at a very high risk to suffer a burn-out, as studies show.

That is why it is so important to disconnect once in a while, and holidays are a perfect opportunity. Silencing your devices is an essential part of real relaxation.

Here are several tips on how to disconnect and relax this holiday.

Limit social networking

Socal networks will be the biggest reason you'll feel the craving to spend time in front of your screen even on your holiday. If your Facebook is mostly work-related, with most of your contacts perhaps being your old students, colleagues, and teaching related pages, consider logging out for a while.

Only you can know how much the time spent on social networks stresses you out. If you're feeling down, nervous or ruminating about work on your holiday after a Facebook session, consider blocking Facebook, either partially or entirely. There are several ways to go about it.

Limit your phone use

Staying away from your laptop won't do anything for your well-being if you don't limit your phone usage as well. Turn off notifications from your (working) email and social networking apps. You don't have to turn the phone off altogether of course. If you're really addicted, consider one of those parenting apps that limit the time spent on your phone.

Escape to nature

Nothing heals modern woes better than getting in touch with pristine nature. You could pick a peaceful nature park to settle calmly into. Contact with nature and witnessing beautiful landscapes truly heals. "Forest bathing", a practice that originated in Japan, is becoming increasingly popular and is even being prescribed by doctors.

If you happen to pick a place where internet connection is limited - that's even better.

Consider getting a pocket guide to plants, birds, or insects of the area your planning to visit. The scientific approach to discovering your surroundings actually facilitates connection with nature for some!

Mindfulness and meditation

Practicing relaxing breathing exercises, mindfulness, and meditation goes hand-in-hand with a disconnected, nature holiday perfectly. In fact, some people won't be able to relax until they start actively working on relaxation. Consider getting one or a couple of good books on the topic to bring with you.

There is this common assumption that teachers are privileged because they get to take three months off to go on a holiday. People so easily forget that teachers work hard throughout the year, and don't have the resources to waste time. No business lunches, no business trips, no checking Facebook during working hours. Every job has its perks, and you don't need to work on your teaching vacation in order to show that you're a worthy member of a community. You've done your part. You've done your best and worked hard to deserve this. And you do. So relax, unwind, and take this time to just be. 

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